Member Challenge: Second Place Ain't So Bad
1. The story should be in a guy's point of view.
2. It deals with him trying to get over his first love (it can be an unrequited love or an ex-girlfriend) who falls in love with another girl.
3. The pacing should be slow -- the main character can't fall in love right away. Keep the integrity and memory of the first love.
4. Has to be humorous but at the same time heartfelt.
5. Must involve jello and a winnie the pooh coffee cup.
6. Be able to differentiate the difference between the two loves, what makes each love special and why in the end he finds the second one THE ONE.
1. No cliche situations. Both first love and second love should meet in original circumstances. Be creative.
2. No high school romances but at the same time no adult themes. It should be sweet, but at the same time mature.
3. Tearjerkers. Try not to kill off anyone. It's too easy a way out.
Lego Me, Rally
Try thinking from a guy's perspective, now.
So… you're not devastatingly good looking (but you think you are), with spiky brown hair, coal black eyes, stubble around the jaw, somewhat lean and tall figure, and an awesome sense of style (okay, so it's just shirts and jeans.).
A year ago, you finally hooked yourself up with a pretty girl (read: hot, curvaceous body. Who cares about her crooked nose and weird ears?) in some computer convention, and yes, you've fallen in love. You've weaved countless, priceless memories with her. You asked her to move into your apartment three months ago, and she said yes. You thought this was it. You thought you'd be spending the rest of your life with her.
You thought she was the one.
You had it all planned out, another two more years and you'd be a fresh college graduate with a high-pay job, and that's when you'll take her to some fancy restaurant by the beach, and propose to her when you tactfully asked for a stroll under the moonlight.
There would be a small orchestra, a huge bouquet of pink and red roses, a big diamond ring (1 karat, perhaps?) and lots of tears.
She'd love it, you knew she would.
Anyway, on your one year anniversary, you found yourself on the streets, browsing through many different shops for the perfect gift.
You walked past the infamous candy shop with a light shrug, knowing full well that you'd be receiving a hard smack across the face if you bought her candies during her diet period.
The sniggers erupted from your lips as you strolled past the toy shop, remembering the last time you forced her in there to get the limited edition Lego pieces. It wasn't like she didn't like toys, she just didn't understand how her boyfriend, at the tender age of 21, would enjoy something like building little sky-scrapers out of weird-shaped pieces.
You squeezed your eyes shut for a moment when you passed the lingerie shop around the corner, your mind lightly registering the fact that a brunette and a blonde were in a heavy lip-locking session. They were girls, and oddly, the brunette had on a bright green shirt that you remembered buying for your girlfriend on her birthday, just a week ago.
And that's when your eyes snapped open, when your feet started tracing its steps back to the corner shop.
The scene hasn't changed from before, except maybe there were a few more curious passer-bys, happily witnessing the whole thing. The girls were still contentedly tangled in each other's arms, and for a moment there, you found yourself wondering, 'Did her hands ever tangle itself on your hair like that?'
As though right on cue, she broke off from the kiss, and like any other movie scenes, your eyes locked.
Her pretty lips dropped open, shocked. So did yours, only yours were probably less graceful.
And that was that, you thought grimly to yourself, your heart aching more as the clueless blonde pulled your girlfriend down for another kiss. The cat was finally out of the bag.
You couldn't take it anymore, so you pushed past the growing crowd and started walking briskly, your hands in your jeans pocket. She hurried after you, her slightly husky voice calling out your name in panic, in worry, in fear.
You halted your steps and turned around, mastering the perfect mask of nonchalance on your face, when deep inside you were yelling in agony.
"Baby, I can explain." The overused line, you found yourself thinking. But somehow, somehow, you smiled.
"When?" Was all that came out of your mouth, and you congratulated yourself on the icy tone.
She stared at you, and her hazel eyes started filling with tears. You fought the urge to pull her into your arms; fought even harder to push the vivid image of her kissing a blonde girl you've come to known as the intruder.
"Two months ago."
A flinch replaced that breezy smile on your face as you remembered what happened two months back in your bedroom. Were you that bad in bed?
When you didn't respond, she reaches out and holds your hand in hers, and despite yourself, your heart started racing at the warmth of her touch against yours.
"Baby, we can work this out…" She reasoned, and for a second there, you felt like giving in.
"Like what," You asked, mustering all the anger you could in your desperate-sounding voice. "A threesome?"
"That's not what I meant." She retorted, now sounding just as mad. Her hands were gesturing wildly in the air. "Don't go twisting my words."
You laughed bitterly and took in her messy appearance. Her slightly swollen lips.
"Baby," You cooed mockingly. "You're moving out."
And with what you thought was the best ending line, you shook her hand off –instantly missing its warmth- and stomped back home.
"You" was me. Cameron, currently going through a major heartbreak stage due to my girlfriend, Cecelia, who ditched me for another girl.
I replayed the message she left on my phone just a few minutes ago, letting her quiet, melodious voice flow into the apartment that used to be ours.
"Hey, I'll be coming over to get my stuffs tomorrow, alright?" Her voice hesitated, and I knew she was probably biting her lip then, her eyebrows knitted together adorably. It always does that when she's thinking. And I knew what was running through her mind, because she always says, "I'm really sorry, baby."
…Because she always says I love you, baby.
Well. Apparently not anymore.
With one final (incredibly large) spoonful of my favourite strawberry-flavoured jello, I tossed everything aside and let one (manly) tear slide off my cheek.
It is times like these that I wish I was a girl instead.
It was a very rough night for me.
Well, to state it bluntly, I couldn't sleep, my stomach kept demanding for more jello (which my mouth gladly complied), my eyes kept wandering over to random things that were our fond memories, and for some reason, my tear ducts were working overtime.
I couldn't bring myself to pick up my phone and ask some friends for comfort and all that, because it'd be pretty weird of me to dial a number and go, 'Hey dude, my girlfriend just dumped me for another girl, my heart is shattered to pieces, and I feel like crying. Man, do you think you could come over with a box of tissues?'. If you get what I mean.
Which was why, at three in the morning, I managed to drag my ass off that lumpy couch of mine, found myself a pair of faded jeans and black dress shirt, and drove my way to the newest club in town in hopes of hooking up with some other girl.
Because, really now, what other ways can you forget a girl, if not by using another girl?
That was my initial plan, anyway.
But as I parked my car by the roadside and got into the club, I realized that my plan wasn't working as well as it should be, and I don't really know why.
Maybe it was due to the fact that every face attached to a female body in the club resembled hers. Every little feature, all the way down to the crooked nose.
I've got it pretty bad, I knew.
So instead of the mingling jingling I planned on doing, I sat myself down on one of those uncomfortable, backless chairs by the bar, leaned my face closer towards the barmaid and ordered aloofly, "Kamikaze."
According to the men magazine (Yes, some of us do read those, for curiosity's sake), a man who drinks Kamikaze is adventurous, bold and outdoorsy. You know, the kind of tough guy that takes chances and has countless battle scars from some street fight, or rock climbing, even.
Women find that sexy, apparently.
The drink came in a shot glass, and just to prove my manliness –the barmaid was giving me the 'Don't bull with me' look-, I drowned it all in one shot, resisting the urge to wince and rinse my mouth with a cup of water.
Other than the fact that the drink consisted of everything I hated (Vodka, Triple Sec and lime juice), the shot was actually pretty good. In a very odd, twisted way.
Maybe the drink was getting to me, because the next thing I know, I started ordering for another shot of Kamikaze.
As I waited for the drink to present itself on the table, a stranger slipped into place beside me. A very buff, tough-looking guy with many, many battle scars.
"A Kamikaze drinker, huh?" I heard myself asking bravely.
He turned and gave me a look that suggested where I should go.
"The usual, Sarah." He told the barmaid, who gave him the tiniest of smiles before slamming my glass on the table. I drowned it all in one, again, surprised to feel my cheeks getting warmer. My entire body was getting warmer, actually. The buff-looking man fixed me with a penetrating stare. "A Kamikaze drinker, huh?"
I would've given him a strong, equally masculine response, but my stomach decided otherwise. Overwhelmed with a sudden stomach sickness, I pushed my stool back and ran to the gents, hastily pushing past people while at it.
And then it all started spilling out. My Kamikaze, my jello, my everything.
All the way down the sickeningly white basin.
Maybe it was a very normal thing in the gents –you know, guys puking their Kamikaze and favourite jello out-, because all the man in the room simply gave me a sympathizing glance as they washed their hands, and then made their way back to the disco lights.
Appreciated it, man.
My point was further proven when I was joined by another poor soul, who made full use of the basin right next to mine.
Except… Well, except it wasn't a he.
I wiped my mouth on my sleeve and stared at the black-haired midget who had her hair pulled back with her hand as she vomited, the gagging sound she made echoing off the tiles.
"Uhm." I said, my eyes still on her, and I realize for the first time, that she was dressed in a black cocktail dress. Not clubbing material, that's for sure.
She halted, and her eyes travelled slowly upwards, until she saw my reflection through the mirror.
Her brown eyes widened comically, and her mouth dropped ajar.
"This…" She murmured blurrily, before she lowered her head for a while more, probably puking her guts out by now. "This isn't the ladies, isn't it."
I laughed scratchily, my throat suddenly sore from all the vomiting.
She sank down onto the dirty white tiles on the ground and managed a bitter chuckle. I followed suit.
"I hate wedding functions." She choked out suddenly, like I was her lifelong friend. "Especially when it's your ex-boyfriend that was getting married. Your ex-boyfriend and your bloody excuse of a best friend."
Not knowing what to do, I nodded my head sympathetically, before realizing that it was a wrong move to make. Every image started to multiply itself.
I tried futilely to wave the blurry images off. Didn't work.
A smaller, more delicate hand made itself known in front of my eyes. Two hands, actually.
"I'm Raleigh." The girl introduced weakly, her hands still outstretched. "Call me Rally."
I took her hand(s) in mine and smiled.
"Cameron." I told her politely. "Call me… Cameron."
She nodded, muttering my name under her breath before finally releasing my hand.
The moment we removed our hands and placed it limply by our sides, our stomachs decided to remind us the reason we were here again. Almost simultaneously, our head hung low, and we gagged on the floor in the gentlemen's restroom.
And that was that.
I knew I found a friend in her.
A normal man would say that he got up the next day, feeling all fresh and new. A normal man would say he got on with his life like how he usually would, without a care for the fact that his one whole year of a relationship with his first true love totally went down the drain in the last 24 hours.
A normal man would say that, because a normal man is tough, strong, totally cool with break ups, and...manly.
And then this is where I come into the picture, at approximately eight in the morning, getting a horrible hangover from the stupid drinks last night; pale, messy appearance; and even the sight of her hastily-kept tampons in what used to be our bathroom would be enough to send my tear ducts working all over again.
Oh, and I felt like something's up my ass.
And whenever I tried to walk, something would start ringing in my head. Like jingle bells. Only more annoying.
After calling the class representative to inform him about me not able to attend class –Now the entire college would think I'm down with bird flu, am stuck in the hospital under the Intensive Care Unit, and might just die tragically in the next 24 hours unless I get sufficient rest-, I stumbled my way to the kitchen for a glass of water and a few aspirin pills.
Last night was fun.
You know, in the whole I-tried-to-kill-myself-but-obviously-failed way.
The water slid down my throat painfully, and I made a mental note to never, never order another Kamikaze ever again, because really, what came out of it other than a throbbing head and hoarse voice?
I fumbled all over the place until I finally picked up my mobile, my fingers frantically scrolling all the way down the phonebook until my eyes found her name, followed by her number and a picture of her.
…She looked like a rape victim.
Needless to say, we were horribly drunk last night, and the people kind of stopped using the toilet towards the end, because the combination of our alcohol-product was pretty… foul.
Amidst the drunken haziness, we managed to exchange numbers and drowned a few more shots of hard liquor; ran around doing random math questions (we helped some guy calculate the number of stripes on his dress shirt -; turns out he wasn't interested in knowing at all. Dickwad.) ; created numerous rhymes and belted it out loud to some poor, tormented-looking teenagers who obviously snuck into the club; celebrated two strangers' birthday in the same club by doing a supposedly-seductive strip tease and got hauled out of club a few minutes later; went into another club beside it, repeated whatever we did in the previous club –right up till the hauling part-, when we finally decided that we should just get a cab home and sleep.
Separately, of course.
I smiled and took a large gulp of water, before staring at the phone again, this time at the wallpaper, when memories started flooding in once more, stabbing me excruciatingly like knives.
That particular picture was taken last December at a beach party with some of my college friends. We were chasing each other around the bonfire –Cecelia in her gorgeous black bikini, me in my black board shorts-, until I managed to catch her from behind and snapped a candid picture of us.
We looked happy; in love, even.
That was the first time she said the 'love' word to me.
I hesitated for a moment, debating if I should give her a call and talk things over. It would do us good, but would it make a single difference?
No, my conscience decided. For the sake of my dignity. I can't call her. I'm a man.
…Hell, I'm a wimp and she knows it.
I set my phone down on the table in the kitchen and groaned.
And then someone knocked on the door. That familiar, rhythmic knock.
Our secret knock.
(Not sure how that made any sense, but it does.)
I dashed towards the mirror in our room to give my appearance one last tidy-up, and hoping I didn't resemble too much of a crying zombie with no sense of style whatsoever, I opened the door.
My mouth dropped ajar.
"I wanted to call you, but you keyed in your address instead of your number last night." Raleigh mumbled, her voice much more coy and timid from what I remembered. Her eyes (terribly make-up-smudged) were trained on her sneakers, and I realized yet again, just how short she was.
"Morning." I greeted as cheerily as possible, quickly pushing the disappointed thoughts into the back of my mind and grinned, despite the stupid hammers that kept hammering my bloody head.
The thing is, Raleigh gives me a reason to smile, because she made me realize that my life isn't as fucked up as hers: An abortion at the age of sixteen; ran away from home on her eighteenth birthday (with no solid reason whatsoever); got dumped by long-time boyfriend for the girl who used to share Barbie dolls with her; and witnessed the both of them getting united in all the holy matrimony crap last night.
Okay, I'm a happy man now.
"Did I leave anything with you?" She asked awkwardly, her hands tugging nervously on her long navy blue razor back. "Anything… feminine?"
She groaned in annoyance and cast me a penetrating stare.
"My…" Raleigh paused, clearly agonized in this current situation. "… You know."
Her you know.
"Yeah, yeah, of course I know," I nodded my head absent-mindedly as I gave the door a little push for a larger opening. "Fancy a cup of tea? I can make you some toast! I'm pretty good at it."
Okay. So I like to brag. My toasts are the best thing after jello.
… And maybe Jessica Alba.
"Cameron," I corrected hastily. Only my mum calls me Cammy and gets away with it. And that's only because she pays for my expenses. "Call me Cameron."
Raleigh gave me a menacing glare.
"Cammy," She emphasized once more, clearly not one to be corrected. "I couldn't find my panties this morning."
"And that's my problem because…" I leaned against the doorframe and crossed my arms over my chest.
Her eyes shifted from me to her sides, before she pushed me into my apartment and clicked the door shut.
"Because I'm wearing this."
She pulled out something hideously green underneath her shorts and smiled coolly at me.
It definitely wasn't panty-material, more like underwear. Dung green underwear.
… What the puck.
"But how did it get-" I trailed off when a sudden –horrifying- image of us removing our clothes slowly in front of a few traumatized looking customers swarmed into mind. And us scrambling randomly in the darkness for our clothes before the guards pulled us out. Oh, puck. "Strip tease. But that would mean… Wait."
And Raleigh waited patiently –much patiently then I would have- for me to pull a little of my pants to check. And double-check.
"Please don't tell me you stretched my favourite pair of red g-string." She grumbled threateningly, her eyes focused on the television set behind me.
So that was the thing that went up my ass.
"You have…" I stared at what I was wearing once more, feeling oddly calm. I shook my body a little, and there it was. That stupid, annoying jing-a-ling. I looked up at Raleigh incredulously. "You have little bells on your g-string?"
She shrugged, "It was on sale, and everyone was buying it."
"Oh." I said and continued inspecting her g-string, shaking my lower body every once in a while just to hear the bells ringing.
Within seconds, I had a whole new Ricky Martin routine running.
"Oh, take your time acquainting with it." Raleigh muttered from my side, her eyes still focused on the television set. "It's just my undergarment, after all."
I looked up with a cheeky grin.
"You wear underwear with bells." I concluded with a smile, shaking my hips once more. Raleigh snapped her head towards me and rolled her eyes. "You're an attention-whore."
"And you got that idea just by shaking your hips and having fun with my g-string."
"I knew they were right. New Yorkers are completely bonkers."
I chuckled, followed immediately by the doorbell, reminding me the reason for my recent hangover (that, for some reason, evaporated).
"Puck." I cursed, and upon receiving the curious look from Raleigh, I hassled to explain, hoping to be able to make her understand. "You need to hide."
…Okay, so that wasn't much of an explanation.
The bell rang another time. Raleigh blinked. I panicked.
And started dragging her into my bedroom, shoving her into my closet and giving her an apologetic shrug.
"What happened to 'I can make you some toast'?" She asked dejectedly, her tiny frame squashed amidst my messy dress shirts.
Thank God Cecelia didn't want to share closets with me.
"Later. Don't make a sound, okay?" I slammed the closet door shut and rushed towards the door, hastily running my hands through my hair futilely to tame it. Stupid hair.
I opened the door with what I hoped to be the best I've-moved-on look.
"Are you doing okay?" Cecelia asked in concern, and I felt myself melt into a puddle at her heels-clad feet.
That was the effect she's always had on me. The puddle effect.
I nodded my head idly as I let her in, my eyes trailing after her long, slender body as she picked up random items from the ground and stuffed it into the box she brought, her gaze drooping towards me every once in a while, as though worried that I would break.
I thought I would, too.
She picked up the fluffy pink pillow from the couch and stared at it for a while, smiling, even, before she hastily dumped it into the box and moved on.
I bought her that pillow on our first month anniversary, when she complained about how her pillows are either too flat or too lumpy.
Cecelia walked into the kitchen, found her Winnie the Pooh cup and placed it delicately in the box, while my heart ached.
That cup was bought for her last year, when I was trying to convince her that Winnie was cuter than Piglet. Didn't think she agreed towards the end, though.
She continued pacing around the apartment, picking up things that belonged to her. I continued following quietly after her, watching sombrely as she took off everything, as though she was slowly, but definitely erasing the memories we've shared in this apartment together.
After half an hour or so, the apartment was half emptier, the spaces that used to be overcrowded with our junk now blanked, and I didn't like it. Not even one bit.
"I'll get a friend to move my entire closet out later this week." She told me, biting her lips as she set her box down on our dining table.
"I'll send you a cheque for the rents during my stay here."
She didn't have to, I asked her to stay here.
"I'm okay, if that's what you're planning to ask." I cut her off blandly, staring straight into her hazel green eyes for once, taking in her appearance for what I'm guessing to be the last time.
People always said Cecelia was a beauty, and I was like… the geek. Which, I guess, made sense.
I mean, we met for the first time in a computer convention, when she found me arguing with one of the salesperson about how he got his information wrong; that Dell computers originated from Texas, not bloody Germany.
That argument went on for an hour, I think, and would've went on a longer marathon had Cecelia not stopped us and asked us to be more civilised (he was about to punch me with a mouse).
I didn't think I've met a more imperfectly beautiful girl in my depressing existence – long, slightly reddish-brown hair, gorgeous hazel green eyes, just about right lips, never ending legs… Okay, so her nose was slightly crooked (which I learned later on that she got it from a catfight), but still-, and I cursed the fact that she was probably the salesperson's girlfriend.
Later on, I thanked the heavens that said salesperson was her two-years older brother.
(Though, in all honesty, I wished I didn't call him and 'fathead dickwad with no computer sense whatsoever')
And everything started from there. Me and her. The perfect couple.
"If I had a chance to start over," Cecelia paused, fumbling for words. "If I had a chance, I wouldn't have started a relationship with you."
Her eyes widened, obviously realizing how that sounded, and she started shaking her head, her hands reaching out to touch me. I flinched away.
"That's not what I meant, ba-…Cameron," She explained in a rush, her hazel eyes wide in apprehension as she tried, once more, to console me. It was like heaven and hell, only worse, because I knew I was on earth. "You were a wonderful boyfriend. Really, you were."
I fixed her with a stare and smiled evenly, "Apparently not good enough for you to want to continue dating a guy."
"I didn't choose it, Cameron." Her voice sounded hurt, unsteady. I looked away. "Please don't make this hard for me. For us."
"Just go." I twisted the brass doorknob and swung the door open, my eyes fixed on the couch instead of her. From the corner of my eye, I could tell that she never budged. "Leave."
She sighed, "I'm really sorry for everything, Cameron."
I looked at her and managed a feeble smile.
With one final gaze at me, at our apartment, she picked up the boxes and walked off, her head held high.
I let out a long breath I've been holding the moment she stepped in, and I let one solitary tear slide down my face before wiping it off, and braving myself to smile.
When I was certain that I wouldn't break down anymore, I walked towards the closet and opened the door, inwardly praying that Raleigh didn't die due to lack of oxygen already… Or something.
I've left her in there for an hour, for God's sake.
But there she was, asleep amidst all my clothes, my favourite black shirt functioning as her blanket while my hanger worked as her little teddy bear.
Despite the depression I felt, a smile crept into place.
After an inner battle between letting her rest and waking her up for lunch, I hesitantly reached out and shook her gently.
Her eyes pried open slowly, her soft brown orbs taking its time to adjust itself to the light in the room.
I forced a nonchalant grin and offered her my hand.
"Toast?" I asked, and she was out of the closet before I could blink twice, pushing me towards the kitchen for food.
It wasn't until she left that afternoon (gobbling down everything like she hasn't eaten for years) when I realized that holy cow, I was still wearing her g-string.
Raleigh decided that the best way to get over a past lover, is by doing things that the two of you never did together, and actually enjoying the process of doing it.
The whole theory is that, by doing all these, you'll come to the realization that you don't need her (or him, in Raleigh's case) to be happy. That you can move on in your life without her kisses or her sweet, caring words.
Which is fine and all, except one little problem.
"Ice hockey?" I motioned incredulously at the stick I was holding. She giggled and nodded her head feverishly. "I don't even know how to ice-skate, let alone hockey on ice!"
"Aw, come on, don't be a party pooper." She teased and pushed me lightly, causing me to lose my balance, and I started to feel a backward gravity pull. Oh shit, no, no, no. I struggled to stand still and straight, to no avail.
With one loud 'oomph', my ass landed on the ice painfully, my hockey stick right beside.
"Oh my God, you really weren't joking when you said you can't skate."
"No shit Sherlock." I grumbled and tried to hoist my body up from the ground. After a few futile attempts, I gave up and sat back down, glaring up at Raleigh. "You don't plan on helping me up, do you."
She smiled, exposing her pearly white teeth as she twirled a strand of her black locks around her little finger, creating the innocent look she knew she could pull off well.
"But you're all big-sized and fat." She reasoned.
"No, you're a midget." I countered mockingly, feeling my butt freeze. A few more minutes and we'll be getting a Buttsicle.
"You know what, maybe I should get those guys over there to help you up." She pointed discreetly at the burly, tough-looking men behind her, and I blanched.
Help me up, or beat me down?
"On second thought, it's okay." I mumbled quickly as I used my hands to push myself off the ground once more, desperately trying to get up. As soon as I got back on my two feet, I grinned, clutching tightly at my bloody hockey stick. "There, see? All is good. I'm cool now."
We exchanged glances for a few seconds, a silent challenge, before she reached out her small hands, gave me the sweetest of smiles… and pushed lightly against my chest.
Next thing I knew, my butt was on the wet ice again.
I gritted her teeth and stared up at Raleigh, whose hands were clutching her stomach as her face contorted into what seemed like (to me) an evil laughter, barely noticing the fact that my hands already snaked its way to both her jeans-clad ankles.
"Raleigh, darling," I cooed. She froze, her gaze slowly travelling downwards. "It's getting a little lonely down here…"
And with a gently pull, I found a pal sitting right beside me on the ice, her lips curling downwards this time.
"Damn it, I hate you." She said through clattering teeth.
We sat there together for a very long time, and despite the fact that our asses were freezing, we stayed at the same spot, doing nothing more than tossing a few friendly curses back and forth.
The fact that we were there to play ice hockey long forgotten; the idea of getting back at each other pretty much abandoned; the thought of Cecelia… barely crossed my mind.
"I think it's working." I told her quietly after a while. I felt grateful, really, I was, but I just don't feel comfortable with expressing my thoughts and feelings to a person I barely knew.
Raleigh turned and smiled at me.
"Me too," She replied, pointing at her butt. "Another minute and we have free popsicles to eat."
Apart from doing things Cecelia and I never bothered trying before, Raleigh decided to do things Cecelia never liked doing with me.
Like building Lego skyscrapers.
This was exactly what we were doing the following Saturday afternoon, when normal college students (by normal I mean geeky, no-life normal) were logged online to retrieve the latest tutorial notes.
"I used to fight over Lego with my brothers when I was little," Raleigh reminisced with the tiniest of smiles, and I remembered the fact that she ran away from home when she was eighteen.
It must've stung.
"Do you still talk to them?" I asked curiously as I pieced the two blue Lego pieces together.
"Wish I could." She answered with a soft, barely audible sigh. "They died in a car crash when I was eighteen, and they were the only reason why I stayed with my pushy parents. And after they left, I didn't see the point anymore. Now you know why I ran away?"
"Yeah." I nodded my head numbly, not knowing what to say. "I'm sorry."
"Don't say that. I'm fine." She interjected with a reassuring smile, before nudging me slightly by the side. "Look what I made for you!"
And then she picked up something that looked like…
"What's it supposed to be again?" I asked, my black eyes focused on the red pile of… something.
Raleigh rolled her eyes and threw a Lego piece at me.
"It's a heart, you retard."
I looked at it again, and sure enough, it resembled a heart.
Albeit weird-looking one.
An image of the little heart shapes Cecelia folded for me using paper notes came into mind, and I hastily pushed the thoughts away, even though her heart shapes were perfect looking.
I took the heart Lego from Raleigh and started inspecting it, from angle to angle.
"Oh, I see it now." I held it up for her with a cheeky grin. "Yeah, this looks perfectly like a heart to me now."
"You're holding it upside-down." She remarked dryly.
"I knew that."
"Of course you did." She said, tilting her head to the side. "The heart's for you, Cammy. This is your heart."
"It looks retarded."
"That's the point." She answered, not at all offended by my comment. "You know what they say about how our heart always shatters to pieces when we get hurt, right?"
"Same goes for this Lego heart. Once you drop it," Raleigh explained as she took the heart back into her hands, and dropped it to the ground. Two pieces of Lego fell off, and she picked up the pieces. "It breaks. It shatters. It's wounded. You understand me?"
"I understand." I didn't have a clue.
"You don't have a clue." She concluded with a frown. Then she held up a hand, signalling me to give her a second as she got up from the ground and started digging through her handbag for something.
I waited, breaking down the pieces of my building and combining them together into a shorter building, and then thumped it down once more before repeating the entire process another time.
"Found it!" Raleigh declared happily, and I looked up from my place, only to see her holding a small paper bag. Nothing too spectacular about it. "Meet Rallygo!"
I took another glance at the white paper bag she held in her hand, before diverting my attention to her.
"You've lost me."
She sat back down, and poured out whatever was inside the paper bag.
White Lego pieces, each with a big 'R' and a smiley marked on it.
Oh God, she totally ruined Lego.
"Think of it as a band-aid," She muttered as she tried to connect two white pieces, replacing the places of the red pieces that fell off. "It serves to heal wounded hearts."
I looked at the heart Lego, now with a slight blend of white at the sides, both white bricks with 'R' and a smiley on it.
When did Cecelia ever do anything like that for me?
"Wounded hearts like mine."
"Wounded hearts like yours." She repeated quietly, and for a while there, I thought I felt my pulse race.
Ever so slightly.
I saw them on the streets on my way home.
Cecelia and her blonde girlfriend, both taking a stroll down that walk, fingers entwined as they just talked and laughed and exchanged loving kisses every now and then, like there wasn't anything more they'd rather do, but be by each other's sides.
It irked me to see that, because Cecelia was never like that when we were together. Sure, everyone knew about us, but we never did anything like that in public.
She wanted mysterious. I gave her mysterious.
Look where that got us.
After one last piercing stare, I turned into the opposite lane and ran my way back, down four blocks, up the stairs, not stopping until I reached my apartment and dialled the number to that one person I've grew to trust over this short period of time.
"What's sizzling, Cammy?" Raleigh joked lamely the moment she picked up the call, but paused as she heard me throwing the heart Lego on the ground. Two red pieces got detached from the rest. "Hey…Are you okay?"
I picked up the heart, and threw it on the ground again. Three more pieces fell out.
"What happened?" Her voice was filled with anxiety, and it soothed me. Knowing that someone cared soothed me. "Is it Cecelia?"
"I saw her with her girlfriend today." I halted, not knowing how to explain anymore. What, they did things we never did in public? She was holding her hand? She's with another effin' girl? "And I just feel really shitty right now."
Another throw, another two pieces fell off.
"Cammy… Cammy, honestly, what was it about her that you like?"
Her sudden question had me taken aback, but I stopped to ponder over it, for the first time in a long while, letting every little detail present itself in front of me.
The last time I fell sick, and she made me chicken soup and did my homework.
"She's really caring, and has pretty amazing culinary skills…"
Our phone calls that lasted for more than four hours each night.
"I enjoyed our late night calls…"
The way she laughed when I told her I liked the way her hair cascaded smoothly down her back.
"The way she express herself…" I trailed off, noticing the fact that Raleigh was no longer talking. "Rally?"
Just when I thought my endless ramblings about Cecelia bored her to death, she spoke up.
"What if someone else is able to do whatever she did? If I'm even more caring and can make the best pasta in the world, if I can talk to you not only on the phone, but face-to-face, through emails, through intercom, even, if you're looking for something fresh to try, and express myself in every way you want me to?" She asked. I pulled out a chair in front of my desk and sat down, placing the ruined heart Lego on the table. "Would you like me just as much as you loved her?"
"I don't see how this is relevant to the current situation, Rally."
She laughed, and I noted how her laughter had a little melodious ring to it. Unlike Cecelia's, whose laughter was low and somewhat husky.
"Cammy, you're gorgeous – in a really geeky, awkward charming way; you're sweet, you're nice, you're adorable, you're hilariously amusing, you're stupid, and you're lame. I don't see how any girl wouldn't fall for that winning combination."
I knocked the heart against the wall a few times, satisfied to see a couple more pieces falling off.
"If you're trying to flatter me, it really isn't working too well."
She grinned again, her laughter evolving into a weird, heinous cackle completed with hiccups.
That's… pretty one of a kind, I guess.
"You know, for a guy, you're pretty girly sometimes."
I froze and wondered why the hell I chose to call her at the first place.
"And here I was, thinking that calling you would make me feel so much better." I muttered sarcastically. My eyes found its way onto a familiar white paper bag.
"Well, I succeeded, didn't I? You're not thinking about whasherface anymore, isn't it?"
I smiled, and poured out the white 'Rallygos' she prepared for me. I stared at what's left of the heart – Only six pieces attached together, looking more like a clump of crap.
Before I knew what was happening, my hands reached out for the white pieces, and started attaching it to the heart Lego. Piece by piece, each labelled with an unmistakable 'R'.
"I take silence as a yes." Her voice broke through my thoughts. "By the way, I've wanted to call you up. Which colour do you think suit my eyes better, sky blue, or periwinkle blue?"
By the end of our (very random, yet entertaining and somewhat informative) conversation, the heart Lego she built for me a few days back was filled up with white pieces.
I thought it looked much better now.
But then there was that inevitable question.
Does that mean I'm finally moving on?
To another, entirely different person, even?
And despite the fact that I just got out of a relationship and needed time to heal, I felt a growing affection for Raleigh. I didn't know if it was the right thing to feel, but I was somehow unable to stop it.
Or at least, I didn't want to.
I knew I was in deep shit the moment I was overwhelmed by the sudden desire to kiss and just taste Raleigh's pale pink lips.
And it wasn't just that, either.
I started comparing the things she did to the things Cecelia did; the way she cared, the way Cecelia cared; the way she talked and handled things, the way Cecelia talked and handled things; the way she made my heart tingle in a comfortable yet warm way, the way Cecelia made my heart jump so fast it made me wanna puke.
The sudden revelation that they were absurdly different, yet somewhat comparable.
And Raleigh won out, hands down. It wasn't something I could explain, it was just… let's just put it on my intuitive.
If you get what I mean.
It didn't help that I had to force my hands to stay put when we were stuck in a heated discussion, talking about –of all things- relationships, and she didn't look like she would be backing down anytime soon.
"Out of genuine curiosity, what do you usually do when you're in love with a guy?" I asked, since it was probably my turn to do the questioning.
Well, that, and uh, I kind of wanted her to say something along the lines of, 'building heart-shaped Lego for him.', or something similar.
She raised her eyebrows in a questioning manner, and I mimicked, challenging her.
"I…" She frowned, as though thinking the question through. Then, she smiled innocently at me. "…do things."
"Oh, wow. I definitely did not see that one coming." I said, tongue-in-cheek. "What an original answer, Rally."
Raleigh stuck her tongue out at me.
"I do really silly things?" She tried again, and I found myself rolling my eyes, but then the tingles came in waves.
Building heart-shaped Lego is a silly thing to do, isn't it?
Like hell it is.
"And what will you do when the guy you like tells you that he doesn't like you that way?" I pestered on. "If he tells you he likes another girl?"
Raleigh wrinkled her nose in distaste, her lips formed into a pout.
Oh God, did she have to look so adorable when she does that?
"I'll pretend to be fine in front of him. I'll tell him I don't care, even if it hurts like hell, but I'll smile, and probably run home and go for ice-cream therapy." She paused, and added, "Oh, and then I'll spend the entire week cussing about men being jerks."
"… And all women are like that?"
"Well, generally. Okay, pop quiz." She folded her legs underneath her and leaned forward, cocking her head to one side. "Would you prefer a lover-lover, or a best friend who is a lover?"
"A best friend who is a lover." The answer blurted out of my mouth, like an instant reflex, and I found myself thinking how Cecelia was never a best friend.
"Oooh." She squinted at me, and I braced myself for her questions. "Found any best friend lately that you might consider upgrading into a lover?"
Oh, damn it. I knew this was coming.
I sat up straighter and pretended to think the question through.
"Actually, I've been meaning to talk to you about this." Her eyebrows perked up in interest, her brown eyes gleaming with what seemed like hope. "I met this really, really wonderful girl a few weeks back, and she's tall, blonde, and just plain gorgeous."
I gave her a mock once-over, before shaking my head lightly, laughing.
"And you're so different, appearance wise. You're really short, black hair, and… well. You know." I paused to grin a little, staring faraway to create the whole 'I'm in love' effect, before transferring my attention back to a very annoyed looking Raleigh. "Anyway, I think I might just be in love with her."
Her crestfallen face was very much apparent, and I pushed away the urge to grin like a mad lunatic.
"Oh." Was all that came out of her mouth a few seconds later, before she looked away, suddenly finding the black, dirty spot on the ground really fascinating.
She likes me.
"Are you okay with it?" I asked, silently indulging myself in her misery, even more so as she nodded her head vigorously and conjured a smile.
"Why wouldn't I be?" She replied with a shaky laugh, her hands clenching the end of her long shirt tightly, (probably) painfully. "I don't care if you're in love. Really. I don't."
She likes me. She likes me.
What the hell. She likes me!
"So you're really okay with me falling in love with another girl?" I questioned again, emphasizing on my last two words.
"Stop asking me that question, of course I am." And she stood up from her place and moved towards the door. "I think I need to go home. My uh, my microwave is still on."
Wow. For someone as bright as her, she sure can be pretty stupid at times.
"Really, now…" I drawled, and braved myself to walk languidly towards her, a smirk intact. Her right hand landed on the doorknob, but I stopped her with mine, and spun her around. "You mean, after everything, you don't like me?"
"Pretty damn gullible, aren't you, little midget?" I teased, lightly running a hand through her black hair, loving the smoothness of it under my touch. Her breath hitched, so did mine.
"You… tricked me?"
I tilted my head to one side, and nodded.
She gasped in surprise, and pushed me away playfully.
It wasn't hard to tell that she was trying her best not to smile.
"Oh my goodness. Jerk. Damn it. God. I hate you."
I laughed and tackled her onto the ground, tickling her by the sides just to hear her giggle and wriggle.
Give her a few minutes. And then she'll realize that she is very much infatuated with me.
a/n: This is the longest one-shot I've ever written, so naturally, it took me... Okay. It took me forever to finish this. I won't say that I'm proud of this work, but I'm rather attached to it. I don't really know if I met all the requirements, though. Opinions, people?
Special thanks to darlin' Teasie, who had to reread it everytime I come up with an idea. And give me suggestions. And comment. And flatter me. :)
By the way, this is a SKoW challenge. HAHAHA.
Really, really hope you enjoyed it.