Author's note: Bi-annual note reminding everyone I still write on my free time. :P Here's another "one shot" split into two (aka a short story)!
To Be Blind
"Right, I think it's about time you get up."
The decisive announcement was his only warning before his face met the floor. Thank god it was carpeted. Though this change in position did nothing to ease the leaden feel of his muscles, and only, in fact, made it worse, so it took a few beats too long to even tilt his head against the ground to peer at… sparkly pink toenails. Right next to his face.
"Jesus, Sun," Dennis Hudson croaked. "Couldn't have done this gently?"
Ignoring him, she forcibly pushed him into a sitting position and handed him a glass of cold water. Then, obviously basking in his pain, his now ex-best friend threw the blinds open. The rays cut into the room, eliminated the welcomed darkness, and effectively blinded him.
He hissed and recoiled, a disturbingly close resemblance to a cat and water.
"It's four in the afternoon," he was informed in a blasé tone. "We're going to be late."
He rubbed his temples and tried to understand what she was saying.
She took pity on his temporary mental block. "Wedding fittings," she said, and could have very well just yanked him from his bed again to face plant the floor. With another groan, he pathetically made his way to his feet. Not that it mattered, anyway, because this was Sun, who was there when he couldn't hold his alcohol at the young age of fourteen and lost the contents of his stomach all over her new pretty blue blouse. The same girl who watched him blubber like a baby at the end of Titanic.
Basically his sense of masculinity never stood a chance against her. Which was just fine with him, because a guy needed a break every now and then.
By the time he walked out of the shower feeling human, his bed was made and he had an impatient brunette pacing at the foot of his bed.
"Finally!" she shouted, and all but launched an outfit at his face. "It's rush hour, and your sister just called ready to rip me a new one."
"I love Brooke, but she's the definition of Bridezilla." He mumbled the words around his clothes as he changed. No sooner than he secured his trousers, he felt a firm grip on his wrist, and then they were charging down the hallway and into the elevator. Well, Sun charged as Dennis tripped.
He assessed the scowl on Sun's face, and ventured cheekily, "If I didn't know any better, I'd say you wanted to go."
The look he received was menacing. Right, he swallowed, she was the prompt kind of girl. And if he remembered correctly, his sister would find any reason to criticize Sun. She's aesthetically perfect for her wedding, his sister told him when Sun was chosen as a bridesmaid. It helped that their mother absolutely adored his best friend, so the nudge from her was another factor in Sun's favour. When she found out, as expected, she was furious with the vanity and superficiality Brooke was capable of, and let her know.
When he managed to drag her away behind locked doors… He gulped. She sure could be scary when she wanted to.
"Good job, by the way," she said with a glower. "You knew we were going to this yesterday and you still got drunk? Do you only think of yourself?"
"I…" He paused. "Wait, why do you care?"
"Because I need a drink before I deal with her friends! But now I need to drive, and I'm not letting you behind the wheel."
She had a thing where she wouldn't let anyone behind the wheel who's had alcohol intake within the last twenty-four hours.
"Oh," he shrugged, "right, well, good luck with that." Then, because he couldn't not say anything, blandly pointed out: "You look… atrocious, really." Sun was a gorgeous girl with thick brown hair in layers that accentuated her high cheekbones. She was tall with long legs he noticed too many people stare at, and a bosom he just so happened to notice every now and then.
But the usual fashionista that was his best friend was decked out in an outfit so mismatched, it made him want to clutch his head.
"Thanks," she glowed, and smirked triumphantly. "Just what her friends expect of a lowly middle-class citizen." Then she fondly caressed her feathered necklace. Her sparkly painted feet were in bright orange flip-flops, and her legs encased in blue and white Polk-a-dotted leggings. Her shirt. Lord, her shirt, reminded him of a road kill.
"What are you, twelve?"
She responded to his taunt with a harrumph. Dennis, often in the middle of his sister and Sun's warfare, merely sighed and followed Sun to her car.
"Where were you, anyway?" Sun asked, checking her blind spot. "I was calling to remind you of the appointment, but of course, you ignore my calls."
"I didn't ignore your calls." He grabbed the sunglasses he always left in her car and shoved them on. "I was at a meeting, and then the guys decided to get a drink…" He shrugged as if it explained all. "Somehow found our way to a club."
"You're all idiots."
"I'm a genius," he pointed out as he always did, and she merely grunted because, well, it was true.
All too soon she rolled into a parking lot across from a wedding retailer. The bell chimed as they pushed the door open and the murmurs and high pitched giggles that reached their ears made Dennis wince.
"Need to escape," he muttered, eyes searching for the males within the vicinity. He spotted the best man just as the females swiveled in their direction from their place in the waiting room. With a smirk at Sun's wince, he saluted. "See you later, love."
"I'll see your annoying face later, then." She straightened and walked to the vultures.
Dennis stepped back and grinned at the sight. Sun wore her outfit like a queen, and even with Brooke's snobby friends eyeing her, she managed a perfect smile at them all. That's his girl.
"Hey, man," best man, Randal, or Randy, Delport clapped his back. "They're upstairs in the men section. We're just waiting for you."
Dennis followed him to the elevator. "Sorry about that, Sun slept in. Slept until four, can you believe it?"
Randy's eyes sought out the tall brunette before the steel doors blocked his view. "What's she wearing?" Understandably puzzled, since he was well aware of how well dressed his lunatic of a friend was. Dennis opted for the oblivious route.
"A new fashion statement. Thinks she looks gorgeous in it. Ask her what the feather necklace symbolizes; it's quite a touching story."
Randy's eyebrows raised, and opened his mouth to comment, but the doors dinged open and Dennis didn't waste a beat.
Smothering his grin, he walked toward the other groomsman and future brother in-law, Don and Lance, respectively.
"Sun slept in," he said by way of greeting, and a large grin appeared on his face when Lance gave him a clear 'yeah right, shit talker,' look, before they clapped each other's back.
Apparently Brooke already chose the suit design and all they needed were the men's measurements. The tailor was dutifully waiting by the sidelines, and when they stood, were lead to another room.
"You sure about this, Lance?" Dennis said good-humoredly as he stood still for the tailor. "I mean there's still plenty of time to back out."
"I'm sure," Lance said, amused. Same dance and tune. Dennis loved Brooke, but how Lance could handle her theatrics, mood swings, and general impolite disposition would remain a mystery forever. Brooke had her good points, but all in all, how she ended up with Lance - a complete sweetheart, according to Sun - also flew over his head.
It didn't even take an hour for them to finish, and soon the four men were ambling towards the ladies. Lance immediately wrapped an arm around Brooke, who gasped in surprise but quickly melted into him.
Dennis grimaced. Literally, they couldn't keep their hands away from each other whenever they were in the same room.
"Hey, boys." Sun grinned as she walked to them. Her hair was now in a high bun and out of her face. Judging from a few missing feathers, she'd already had her turn with measurements. Dennis tucked her under his chin when she instinctively hugged him upon sight. "Randy, Don," she continued and broke away from him to hug them as well.
"So," Randy said purposefully when Dennis nudged him and not so subtly nodded to Sun. "What's the symbolic meaning behind your feathered necklace?"
Puzzled, Sun gazed at them both but managed to maintain her smile. "Oh, it came from the first bird Dennis here managed to capture with his own hands. And while the bird was still alive, he plucked the feathers one by one." At Randy's gape, she gave a flutter of her hand. "Not to worry, he released the poor baby back to the streets. But, of course, without feathers he couldn't fly so he fell victim to a feline. Dennis managed to shoo the cat away but the bird was already dead." Sun looked sympathetic as she reached over and gave his shoulder a squeeze. "You still have nightmares about it, don't you?"
Dennis managed to nod. How he kept his face blank was beyond him.
"I wear this to remind Dennis of his loss and success."
Randy's expression clearly showed how torn he was about believing them or not. "Why would you even… capture…"
Don popped in at this point, long accustomed to the best friend's strange ways. "They're pulling your leg. Don't believe anything either of them say."
They lost it then. Sun collapsed on Dennis, and as he struggled to keep them both upright through their laughter. Randy looked exasperated, and he forced himself to stop laughing to ease the poor guy.
"I almost believed you," Randy said.
"Compliment," Sun said and scrubbed her cheek with a happy sigh. "Don't believe anything Dennis tells you about me. He likes to bullshit."
"Yeah, because you didn't just pull that story out of your ass in a second."
"Sun!" Brooke's commanding tone made all of them turn. "Come here, the girls need to talk to you!"
"Yes, yes," she said and took her time walking across the room.
"Does she have a boyfriend yet?" Don said, and only then did Dennis realized he was staring across the room intently.
"Boyfriend? Sun? No." The thought made him frown slightly. "But I know there is someone." His lips thinned. Even though he already knew, it stilled annoyed him like hell. One, because of the way she reacted just to the thought of this guy. She fucking glowed when she actually told Dennis about him. Granted, she was drunk when he pulled what little information he had about this stranger, but still.
Two, because she wouldn't tell him who he was. He had the right to know. But according to her, he would ruin whatever relationship she had with this guy. That was bullshit. Maybe he would scare him a bit, but only to see if a male best friend didn't intimidate the guy. If it did, then he didn't deserve her.
He'll be damned if some mystery pretty boy made her choose between her best friend and some insecure coward she just met.
Don looked interested. "Really? Lucky guy."
"Yeah," Dennis said wryly. "Wait until he sees her in the morning. Or when she has her period." A shudder ran through him. "She's a monster then with unbelievable cravings. Or when she's drunk - uncontrollable, that one."
Sun returned then and caught sight of his narrowed eyes.
She gave him a weird look. "What."
"We're discussing your merits when you're drunk."
"I see." All three stared at each other. "Good news? Bad?" she said finally.
Sun shrugged as if she expected as much. "As expected from someone whose had to hold my hair back a couple dozen times."
Dennis gave Don a significant look.
"Though you do volunteer every single time," she added. "Can't a girl vomit in peace? What person likes some guy with a hero complex hovering behind her?"
"You could choke," Dennis said, as he always did whenever they had such ridiculous conversations.
"What are you going to do? Stick your fingers down my throat to save me?"
"If I had to," he said without missing a beat.
Sun sighed exaggeratedly. "Fine. I have class in an hour. If you want a ride, then let's go. If not…" She walked away with a wave at the males.
"The hell did that conversation come from?" Randy said.
"You get used to it," Don said dryly.
Dennis called out an absentminded goodbye, eyes following his best friend's leaving form, who stopped just outside the glass doors and vigorously beckoned him. Dennis grinned, and just to be an ass, planted his feet apart and stuck in hands into his pocket.
"Real mature," Don said.
"She turns red when she yells," Dennis informed him gleefully. He was, of course, right.
Don and Randy watched as Sun dragged a laughing Dennis towards her car.
"Think he knows she's interested in him?" Don said finally.
"Not even if we hit him with a frying pan."
Sun was tired. And hungry. The combination wasn't a good one, so that made her annoyed. Two in the afternoon, but it felt those mornings where she stayed up all night and her face was breaking out and she felt bloated from the caffeine she had to consume to stay awake.
All in all, she felt like shit.
The pounding on the door didn't help.
"I'm coming!" she shouted. "Can't even keep your damn panties… oh, hi."
The girl on the other side breezed in without so much of a greeting, arms full with plastic bags. Amelia Fairview moved around in the kitchenette as if she owned the place. It wasn't too far off; the girl somehow always found a way to use the oven whenever she was over.
"I figured you'd be too tired to have lunch with me, so I'm going to cook for you!"
"You're the only person I know who gets that excited for cooking," a deep male voice said from behind Sun. Harvey Warren, Amelia's boyfriend stepped inside with an easy smile. "I brought your favourite Starbucks coffee and cake."
Sun sprang in front of him. "I adore you. Thank you, you amazing fine specimen of a man."
Amelia scowled from behind a blade in her hand. "I'm the one making you a meal. This guy just pulled out his wallet…. There wasn't even a line."
Harvey paid no attention. "You're welcome, gorgeous." He shut the door behind him and ambled towards the couch.
"I adore you, too, of course," Sun told Amelia and bounded to give her a hug. Amelia returned it happily. She was the kind of person who liked to take care of others, though Sun thought that sometimes she went above and beyond. Still, Sun knew she could forever count on the girl.
"How are you?" Amelia asked the same way she always did.
Sun sipped her coffee. "Tired. Morning classes are long." She glanced between the couple. "And you two?"
"Excellent," Harvey said. "Did you know, Sun, that Amelia was a screamer in bed?"
"Harvey!" Amelia shouted, face beet red. "Shut up before I come there and skewer that face of yours."
Sun laughed loudly. Amelia's boyfriend enjoyed rousing such reactions from her, and Sun understood why. Amelia was always so focused on everyone else that sometimes it wasn't so easy to realize she needed some attention too. Harvey was the perfect person for that job.
"Oh really?" Sun said slyly. "I didn't expect that from you. But you know what they say…"
"I hate both of you." Amelia studiously ignored them as she prepared the food.
Sun told them about her time with Dennis' conniving sister, Brooke, and the endless snips from her snobby friends. To be honest Sun didn't mind so much what they thought, and even Brooke's sneer was starting to grow on her. Mostly because she came to understand it didn't stem from hatred. It was just the way she communicated. At least, that's what Sun discerned from all these years of knowing her.
Sun and Harvey knew better to offer their help to Amelia. Soon enough, they had plates in front of them with steaming food. Sun's stomach growled happily in response.
Sun was enjoying the Starbucks little treat, that she just about choked when Amelia brought up that topic of conversation. Amelia passed a glass of water to her, and red-faced, Sun chugged.
"What did I say about bringing that up?" Sun glowered, and for dramatics, slammed the glass on the table. "It's completely inappropriate!"
Her two guests shared a glance.
"I just think it's unhealthy for you," Amelia said in that straightforward yet caring way of hers that it was impossible to maintain a scowl. "You've been irritable, and don't even get me started when his latest interest comes sidling near us when we're out…"
Sun seethed just thinking about the last encounter of Dennis Hudson and his girl-toy. One of many, just this particular last one had her spitting fire. Maybe it was the girl's attitude (particularly annoying that day), or it was starting to take a toll on her sanity just how big a secret she was keeping from someone she was always brutally honest with. She would tell him about her period and how it felt like coming out in that exact moment, for crap's sake. There was no shame in this relationship.
Except for this dirty little secret of hers.
"It's nothing to be ashamed of," Amelia said cautiously, as if hearing her thoughts.
"Amelia. You and I both know that Dennis is a complete sweetheart and gentleman. He's a wonderful friend." Her lips thinned. "Just not boyfriend material. I've never seen a guy against commitment like he is."
"This is different," she insisted. "You're his best friend. You know each other better than you know yourself!"
"Exactly," she shot back. "And what I know is that I'm not going to give him that chance to treat me like his floozy." Sun scoffed and fluttered her hand, physically dismissing such an absurd thought.
"She's got a point," Harvey said mildly, to which both girls looked at him in surprise. He shrugged. "If she's expecting as much, why do anything at all?"
Amelia gaped at her boyfriend. "Because it's worth the risk?" she said incredulously. "Because how else is anything suppose to happen if no one makes the first move?" Amelia waved a hand in his face. "Are you okay there?"
Amused, he swatted her limb gently. "After all this time, you think he's just going to realize something?"
Sun narrowed her eyes in thought, and shrugged at Amelia's stricken look. "It's true," she agreed, and then glumly added, "Hey, I don't suppose you know any guys in the business program interested in a blind date?"
She was joking, but with the way he grinned she knew better than to pretend dumb.
"I should watch what I'm saying," Sun said to Amelia, to which the girl nodded with wide eyes.
"Are you sure about this?"
Sun gave her friend a look. "It's time to move on," she announced, and with a grin, tilted her head proudly. "Besides, why would I waste my time with someone incapable of committing to a girl willing to make him happy?"
"He's not psychic," Amelia dutifully pointed out.
Both of them shot her varying looks of exasperation.
"I'm just saying."
Not one of her best ideas. Sun didn't know if there was a record for blind dates gone wrong consecutively, but if there was, she left it in the dust. Harvey had terrible matchmaking skills, and she was going to rip him a new one for persuading her to give this one a chance, he's right for you, I'm sure of it!
Furiously, she practically broke her phone texting him from under the table, and forced a smile when her date asked if her food was making her gassy. Because he was reacting himself.
"How about that movie, hey?" White teeth flashed prettily across the table. "It was hilarious. I thought I was going to pee from laughing so much."
Sun smiled faintly. "Yeah, it was really funny." It was a good movie, and she would have had a good time if the guy didn't look at her every other second to see if she was laughing. Or leaned over the arm rest to ask her if she thought it was funny.
Amelia, as of tomorrow, you are single. No need to mourn, your boyfriend will be in a better place.
Brown eyes peered at her. "Who are you texting?"
She realized how rude she was. "I'm sorry, my friend was asking about something in class." And she was a liar, too. Wonderful.
"Yeah? You're in humanities, aren't you?" He snorted. "No offence, but what exactly can you do with that degree?"
Her teeth gnashed. "I'm not sure what I want to do yet."
"Really? You'll have better luck at teacher's college. That's where you're going to end up anyway."
Sun wanted to reach over and punch guy in the face, but she honed every inch of willpower she owned. "Teaching is a respectable career. If you love it, why not go for it?"
He looked at her like she was crazy. "Because why would you teach if you can do something else? Anything else? It's your safety net."
"Even if it was," she said tightly, "it isn't something to be looked down on."
"Of course you would say that," he said condescendingly. "That's your future career."
In one fluid motion, she grabbed her glass of water and hurled its contents at him. His face flickered from shock, to confusion, and finally to anger.
"What the hell!" he shouted.
"You're being an pretentious asshole," she told him through gritted teeth, grabbed her share of money, and slapped it on the table. "That's for the movie and for my meal."
He let out a string of curses as she walked away, but she couldn't resist whirling around when he heard his bit about psychotic bitches throwing diva tantrums.
"It's just water,you big baby!" she shouted, not taking note of their many stares. "Grow a pair and get over it!"
Seething, Sun stalked down the pavement, only vaguely registering the fact that she had no idea where she was. The sun had long set, and only the fact that it was one of the more busier and livelier streets in the city did she feel safe… sort of.
A few minutes later, she spotted a Starbucks across the street and made a dash towards it. When she was seated with a hot beverage did she fish out her cell phone.
"Hello?" Dennis' distracted voice filled her ears. Involuntarily, she gritted her teeth. This was his stupid fault. Not that he knew, and that irrationally pissed her off even more. But instead of lashing out like an unreasonable person, she took a deep breath and spoke evenly.
"Pick me up," she said, and rattled the address the cashier had told her.
He paused, and then she heard his muffled voice parting with whoever he was. Despite everything, she had to smile. He was all right, this guy she called her best friend. Definitely always there for her.
"I'll be there in fifteen," he said and hung up.
Sure enough she spotted his frown from across the room. Hiding a grin behind her cup, she raised her hand to beckon him over.
He loomed over her, eyes inspecting her studiously. Sun wore one of her lighter tan jackets with a casual dark blue sun dress. Her hair tumbled down her back in a fashionably messy waterfall and the only makeup she had on her face was her mascara. Still, she took heart with the way his eyes softened as they always did when he looked at her.
"Are you going to stand there all day?" she asked.
"You're okay," he stated, and then heavily sat with a groan. "You scared me. What are you doing on this side of town?"
"Date," she said with a sigh. At his frown, she added, "He was an asshole, so I had to leave."
"Another date?" His eyes rolled. "Isn't this your eighth one?"
"Fifth, actually, and last. Harvey cannot matchmake for shit. Help me bury his body?"
His lips quirked as he swiped her drink. "No dice. Amelia won't speak to me again, and I do rather enjoy our relationship."
"You mean the way you mooch off her food? Yeah. I noticed that."
"Like you stop her from feeding you? Anyway, what's with this? You were never one for blind dates before."
Sun sat back with her arms crossed. "Do you have another genius idea to get over someone you love?"
With morbid fascination she watched Dennis choke on the liquid and cough like he was hacking a lung. Almost as an after thought did she reach over to pat his back. Except it was more like a karate chop.
"Sun -" WHACK. "I -" WHACK.
He wheezed. "Remind me never to choke in your presence."
"I can Heimlich manoeuvre like no body's business."
He stared. "What do you meanlove?"
"Oh, it doesn't matter," she said. "I've decided to move on, but all I guys I've met are either rude, creepy, or perverted. If I'm lucky, I get a mix of all three."
His eyes crinkled then. "Damn. Poor guy, didn't even get a chance to see you in your mornings. Bed head and all."
Her vocabulary deteriorated whenever she was around him. "Shut up, beast."
"I'm just saying." Looking pleased, he kicked his legs forward and leaned back in his seat, the perfect picture of relaxation. "Despite your… quirks, you're someone anyone is lucky to know. If he can't appreciate that, then good riddance."
Sun appreciated the irony of the situation and had to laugh loudly. "Thanks, Dennis."
He shrugged. He was never one for emotions and sensitivity. If that hadn't been clear. They met in seventh grade, and but a stroke of luck, was assigned seats next to each other. Sun was terrible in math, but Dennis knew how to hold his own. Eventually her gripes and moans about the subject forced him to venture further into their relationship beyond the absentminded "hey" whenever he took his seat.
His patience for her aversion to variables and the like was godsend.
After that, it wasn't a sudden jump into a close relationship where they acted like they've known each other their whole lives. It took at least half a year for Sun to laugh her loud, cackling laugh around him without feeling embarrassed during one of her most awkward phases in life. Dennis was, to be truthful, a bit mean and condescending, but eventually he grew on her and she saw that he was capable of being sweet.
Either way, it was a normal relationship, which continued once they hit high school. He didn't treat her like his little princess, and she didn't hold him on some pedestal because he was gorgeous and athletic. Their relationship was platonic, and the thought of anything beyond that was... Eugh. Gross.
Well. Until recently. Apparently she suffered a blow to the head without recollection of it, because what else would such reactions be to his presence, his voice, just the thought of him?
It was sickening. Sun wanted to moan and bitch, but the only person she could properly do that to was the very person she couldn't say anything to.
"Help me," Sun demanded. "How do you toss your girl-toys away so easily?"
"You know, your girlfriends but not," she said impatiently. "How are you so insensitive? Teach me." She poked his knee until he was forced to grab her hand in his larger one.
"That's different," he said. "I don't love any of them." He got a strange look on his face. "Do I know the guy? I mean, why haven't you ever mentioned him? And now you want to get over him - not that I'm complaining, but still…"
"It kind of snuck up on me," she grudgingly admitted. "But I'm rectifying that now, because I'd like to choose who I can love," she announced.
"Sun-honey, I don't think it works that way," he said amusedly.
"Are you with me or what? Because if Harvey decides to send another moron in my direction, I'm going to scream."
Dennis forgot how ridiculously persistent Sun was. He, to be honest, was maybe, kind of, humouring her when she nagged him to teach her how to be insensitive, as she eloquently put it. He should be offended. He wasn't insensitive… he just didn't care as much as he was supposed to. See. Difference.
Now she'd insisted they have a heart to heart. Dennis groaned and left his head drop into his hand.
"Sun, not all of us had only one class. Some of us had to work and then run to a fucking three-hour lab and deal with psychotic lab partners."
Sun scoffed. "Do you think that coffee is out of the kindness of my heart? I need you awake for this conversation."
"Gee thanks," he muttered, but took a gulp.
"Magda called," Sun reported. "So did Melanie. I checked your cell when you were in your washroom, and saw three texts from Fiona."
Dennis choked on the liquid. "The key I gave is for emergencies, not for snooping around." He glowered and swiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "What exactly are you doing?"
"In the beginning I was looking for my favourite grey sweater -"
"You mean mine," he said pointedly, "which you stole."
She ignored him. "And I couldn't help but hear the messages Magda and Mel - do you call her that? - left. Obviously they don't know you or they're just starting to know you." She pinned him with intense brown eyes that had the power to make him feel uncomfortable as they did to relax him. Right now it was the former. "In the past I could care less about your escapades with these delusional females -"
His eyebrows shot up. "Now wait a minute -"
"But now I'm genuinely interested." With a look that could only be described as stubborn, she scooted closer to him on the couch. He could smell her subtle scent of laundry detergent and something else he's associated with her, but for the life of him, could never give a proper label. It was just Sun. "There has to be a reason for your emotional depth of a puddle."
"Not that shallow, but shallow enough," she amended, which really did nothing to ease the slight of the words. Still, his lips quirked because only Sun could insult him in one breath and comfort him the next in that disregarding way of hers.
"Are you expecting some sob story about how the love of my life doesn't notice me so I'm reacting in a way that'd fill the empty space in my chest?"
He meant it as a joke, but the way her eyebrows furrowed made him pay closer attention. Sun shifted, facing him completely. He didn't know if it was the solemn shift in the atmosphere, or what, but the way she looked made him pull back to give him some room to clear his head.
"Are you?" she said seriously. "Because if that isn't the reason, then only stupidity can account for your behaviour."
Gobsmacked, he stared. Then he threw his head back and laughed.
"You do have a way with words."
"There is no reason, all right? They're nothing. Casual dating, if that makes you feel any better. Not everyone dates expecting a serious relationship." Dennis watched her frown deepen, and a warmth unfurled in his chest. Smiling, he reached forward and poked the marks between her eyebrows until she was looking at him confusedly. "There's no need to worry your head off over these girls."
"Because they know what they're getting themselves into?" she said dryly. "And for the record, I wasn't. I can't respect a girl who gives herself to a guy on the first date, where said guy leaves her, and she calls him back expecting a lovely relationship to stem from a one-night stand."
"No need to get personal," he muttered.
Sun smiled. "I'm just saying." Then with a sigh, she flopped next to him comfortably. Her head found the same spot on his shoulder that made both of them feel at ease.
After a long day, this was the perfect way to end it. He could feel himself start to lull as he breathed in her familiar scent.
"You can do it, you know," he said, even when he tried to push the words back down his throat. "I can tell you really like this guy." The way her eyes glowed, that soft curl of her lips when she spoke about him… A bitter taste entered his mouth and he opened his eyes to grab his coffee. "But you can get over him. It's not like he deserves you, anyway."
Sun's laugh was sleepy. "Are you telling me you know what I deserve, Dennis Hudson?"
He felt uncomfortable in this territory, especially with his best friend. He knew how independent she was, and it was like practically pulling a wisdom tooth out when he forced his help on her the first time they met. He also knew that while she seemed like a normal girl, she wasn't the kind for romance and clichés. She looked down at the hierarchy in high school, and essentially, made him feel like she was just one of the guys. A normal pal to joke around with.
Even when he was red with rage when he witnessed one of his high school football team mates make a lewd comment and insult her all in one breath. The look on her face made him stop from breaking the guy's face, and made him almost pee from laughter when Sun did it for him.
If this guy she apparently loved couldn't see how breathtaking she was, in every way possible, then he sure as hell will do everything he can to make her get over him.
What an undeserving moron.
"Course I do," he said confidently. "We'll find you someone worthy. Someone who isn't so fucking blind that he can't realize what's right in front of him."
Which was, of course, easier said than done.
The fact that, firstly, he had no idea how to actively begin a relationship. If you liked the person, then you liked the person. None of this developing sexual feelings. There was no sudden epiphany where Dennis looked at a girl he's known for years and suddenly, he wanted to see her naked. And, you know, shared feelings. Relationship stuff. To him, if he was interested at first glance, then that was something to build on.
If he had that much of a difficult time wanting to get to know someone and was attracted to her, then he couldn't figure out for the life of him how he was going to help Sun get over her mysterious loser. Or love. Whatever he was to her.
Eventually he tried to understand the way her mind worked. It was uncharted territory, one he was willing to admit scared him a little more than it should. He was able to read her with one glance, thanks to years of practice, but this love and sex subject was off-limits. She stayed out of his business, and he stayed out of hers.
Now he had to pry. Remember, couldn't have her pining over the worthless oblivious douche - or rather…
No, that's exactly what he meant.
"So…" He wanted to fidget, but if he even gave an inch of awkwardness, the conversation generally turned in her favour and he wouldn't get this done. "What, uh, exactly is your type?"
Sun slowly turned her head from the television. "Sorry?"
"I asked… what your type was. You know. What kind of guys do you like?" Sun wasn't picky about looks. At least, not like he was.
Sun blinked, and a slow smile spread across her face. "Well this is one for the books. Never thought I'd hear you ask me that, Hudson."
See what he meant?
"Just answer the question," he grumbled. "So I don't have to see you mope and groan about how stupid your man is."
"I do not mope and groan." She was right. She didn't. The only time she resembled heartbreak was probably her reading spree. Instead of ice cream and chick flicks, she turned to books.
Not even romance. They were science fiction.
"I wasn't the one nagging to teach me about insensitivity and moving on."
"Did I say you were? There's no rush."
Dennis gazed at her in disbelief. Coming from the girl who forced him to stay up the other night to list his escapades and dissect his breaking up technique (which really, consisted of a lot of missed calls and ducking around corners. If it got out of hand, and the girl was too deluded to function, then an outright rejection sufficed). Now it was practically all he could think about.
Which goes to show how effective her nagging skills were.
"I'd like to be able to sleep in peace," he said when he noticed her attention drawn back to some trashy reality show. "Don't you have an essay to write, by the way?"
"I do. Can you shh for a second? I can't focus on Belinda's whiny voice and yours at the same time."
Dennis threw a pillow at her face and grabbed the remote.
Laughing, Sun turned to him. "Okay," she smiled, and added thoughtfully. "I don't have a type. If I like him, then I like him. There are no requirements."
"Can't even give me something to work on. I see where Harvey was coming from, sending all those assholes."
He ducked her swipe with a grin.
"You know," he said after a while. "A good way to move on is to tell the person that you like them. You'll be forced to face reality."
"Yes, that will go over well. 'Hey, I know we've been friends for years, but somewhere along the way, I fell in love with you. Oh no I wasn't hoping for anything at all.'" Sun glared at him, and he narrowed his eyes in return. "I know what's going to happen; I've accepted the fact that my feelings are unrequited. I don't need to be humiliated for me to move on."
"Who is this guy again?"
"No one you know."
"Stop being his friend then."
He knew Sun was crazy about this guy, but hearing her admit that she was in love with the sonovabitch… Damn him if he wasn't hunting him down right now.
"We've been friends for years, Dennis. That's not an option."
"Sure it is," he said, trying to keep his voice even. "Girls always get rid of everything that reminds them of the relationship. It's practically the same thing. Besides, are you even sure you're in love with this guy?" He couldn't stop the sneer from forming on his face. "So if you are supposedly in love, and you want to move on then cutting off all connection is the only way."
His best friend studied him for a moment, and he didn't realize how tense he was until he felt his shoulders relax when she looked away. "I'm in love with him," Sun said quietly, and the sincerity and honesty he heard was equivalent to a punch in his gut. "But I loved him first. As a friend. And I do believe that I can reach that point where I don't feel… romantic feelings for him."
"If you say so." What was wrong with him? He forced himself to relax. It was just a weird product of such intimate conversation with Sun. Sure they were best friends, but they didn't talk feelings. Between them, silence spoke volumes, but now. Now it was suddenly, "I'm in love with him!" and "I need to move on."
And how the fuck could he have missed this moron?
Granted Sun had many friends. But surely he wasn't so self absorbed not to notice one particular person she seemed to grow close to. His lips thinned. He wondered why the idea of someone else close to Sun bothered him. She had other male friends.
But none of them were as close to her as she was, he thought. Now this feeling of competition was enough to piss him off.
He should be supportive. Sun expected that of him.
"Oh, look who it is," were the words Dennis prepared himself to say all night. Except it came out flat instead of enthusiastic like he planned. The smile on his face died before it really ever formed, and a scowl pulled his eyebrows together. "Amelia… and Sun."
It took everything in him to rearrange his face. Without looking around, he knew eyes were trained on Sun.
"What are you wearing?"
Amelia grinned. "Isn't she stunning?"
Sun winked and did a quick twirl. The rest of the dress - or lack of - made him grit his teeth together. The deep purple dress cinched at her waist and fell in wisps of fabric inches above of knee. The deep plunge, sure, covered everything, but did show enough skin as if taunting the onlookers. The fabric criss-crossed her back in three large Xs, and with a quick glance, confirmed to Dennis that she was not wearing a bra.
"How are you even walking?" Those heels should be illegal. For more than one reason.
"Easily," she smiled brightly and sauntered to him with practiced seduction. Dennis only frowned in annoyance.
"I know we're in a club, but Jesus Christ, Sun." He grabbed her wrist and practically yanked her to his side. "You need to run your outfits through me. Let's go."
Amelia intervened. "But we just got here!"
"And you." His eyes bored her own. Amelia wasn't in her usual decent with a hint of sexy get-up. The black dress flowed, but it flowed in a way that emphasized her curves, with her back in full on view.
"Harvey let you out like that?"
Amelia only smiled. "Relax, Dennis. You asked if we wanted to go out and we're here."
Dennis exhaled and released Sun's wrist. She was off to the bar in a second, and he was left scowling in her wake.
"She's going to give me a headache," he muttered.
Amelia merely patted his arm with a smile and walked after her friend.
"For the record, I fought with her on that one."
Dennis turned to see the male nodding towards Amelia's direction.
Dennis rolled his eyes. "Whatever. Right after you asked to stay in the night instead."
Harvey grinned. "Why do you assume such things?"
"Because you love Amelia getting flustered."
Harvey looked thoughtful, his gaze returning to the female duo. Sun was currently shoving another shot glass at Amelia who tried to gently dissuade her. They've been dating for almost a year, and if
Dennis got a dollar for every time Harvey managed to leave her flustered… It was strange, but amusing. Amelia was always the level-headed and poised friend.
"I do," Harvey said suddenly.
Dennis slowly turned to him.
"Are you serious? I mean… I know you've been dating but…" He stared. Couldn't help it. "How can you even tell?" he finally settled with.
For the first time since he's known him, Harvey looked ruffled. "To be honest, it kind of snuck up on me," he muttered. "I mean, I always thought she was pretty in high school, but nothing more, you know? And then I saw her on campus, and she was just different. Weird. I loved being her friend, but then…" He shrugged, his eyes straying back to their topic of conversation. "She has this thing where she wants to do everything for everyone."
"I'm aware," Dennis said dryly.
A determined look crossed the younger boy's face. "All my life, people expected things from me, and I was so used to just following their orders and what was expected of me. The straight- A, athletic son. The perfect boyfriend. Someone who would be there even if I had to stretch myself in ten different directions." His lips thinned. "And then this girl who barely has any time to eat, sleep or study wants to make sure that a total stranger feels comfortable in this campus. Never mind that I've been there for three months." Harvey's hand shot through his hair. "I don't know. It was like… everything everyone demanded from me and I was forced to give… I wanted to give to her. Without her even asking."
"Wow," Dennis uttered after a few moments. "My man, you have it bad."
Harvey grinned. "Like you don't know.
"What do you mean?"
"Just a thought," he said after a pause. "I'm sure you have someone you'll stop the world for."
"That's a bit extreme," Dennis laughed and barely kept himself from scoffing. "I haven't been with anyone long enough for her grip to chain me like that."
Harvey had a mischievous smirk on his face. "And how long have you known Sun?"
"Around eight years… What? Are you kidding me?" Dennis laughed again, but this time in disbelief. "Sun is amazing, don't get me wrong. But…" But what? But he didn't have feelings for her in that way? But he liked her more as a friend so anything beyond that was impossible?
"Interesting," Harvey said sagely to his silence.
Dennis frowned. He was picking up on Amelia's annoying sarcasm. "I'd do anything for Sun, but we're just friends."
"Famous last words."
"What about this?" Sun spun on him, but almost immediately retracted her statement with a grumble and tossed the article of clothing over her shoulder. He'd been shopping with Sun plenty of times, but today he felt particularly irritable. He was a fairly patient guy, and he could walk around the mall for hours without the act breaching annoyance, but today, he was on edge.
"It looks fine," Dennis said as he attempted to maintain a neutral face.
"What's with you?" she said without looking at him as she leafed through the blouses on a nearby rack. "Usually you tell the truth, but now it's like pulling teeth."
She could read him like a book. "I don't know," he admitted with a frown, even as she stopped her hunt and approached him with a worried look. "I feel… irritated. But not with you or what we're doing."
"Ah," she said with a purse of her lips. "I know what will solve that. Ice cream or frozen yogurt?"
Dennis gazed at her, temporary amused. "Is this just an excuse to have one or the other?"
"Perhaps. But I am worried about you." Sun grabbed his hand the way she always did when leading him somewhere, but this time the action almost felt foreign. It was a strange thing to notice, after all this time, and doing so made him uneasy. Clearing his throat, he gently pulled away and pretended to reach for his cell in his pocket.
"Frozen yogurt is healthier, anyway." Sun glanced at him quizzically but he forced himself to gaze at a group of girls passing by. One was a tall blonde. Dennis didn't have a type, but there was something to be said about blonde goddesses.
The girl smiled slowly and he gave a reflexive wink in return.
"Potential girl-toy?" Sun popped next to him curiously, but almost distractedly with the way she zoned in on the nearest directory. Dennis had to pause to stomp down the sudden glare of irritation.
She spoke again when he was closer. "So? You didn't tell me what happened to those other girls chasing after you. Did you have to let them down gently? Or were there brain cells able to rub together in the face of your apparent charm?"
"Why do you care?" Up until recently she'd never asked about his "girl toys" and he'd never asked about her "lover" and he never really understood what fucking changed to have this sudden breach of privacy.
"I don't." As it turns out, the frozen yogurt wasn't too far away. "Curiosity, on the other hand…"
"I'm still talking to them," Dennis said and stood back to watch Sun order for the both of them. The small flare of irritation suddenly grew with his uneasiness. Watching Sun interact with other people usually made him smile. Her face was always lightened, eyes bright, and he enjoyed front row of her charm ensnaring those lucky enough to talk to her. Now, thinking about how much he enjoyed it made him angry enough to turn away from her.
He couldn't pinpoint the unreasonable reaction. He was a rational, level-headed guy, and this onslaught of unwarranted feelings made him feel like an asshole. But he couldn't stop himself.
"Thanks." He arranged his face into a neutral look, but he suspected that she was suspicious. Ever so tactful, she waited until she zoned in on a secluded area with few people passing by.
"Okay, tell me. What's wrong?" She shoved her spoon into her mouth, but her eyes were intently on his.
"Don't give me that." She smacked her lips together and bestowed him with a ferocious scowl.
But all he noticed was how pretty she looked. "Nothing, okay?" he snapped. "Jesus, Sun. Even if there was something wrong with me, the way you're going about it is shit."
"Like you're all heart and sensitivity," she retorted. "Fine. It's not like I can go shopping with you like this anyway. You're unreasonable when you're in your snits."
And his irritation flared into anger. "Look, I'm sorry I'm not in the mood to go shopping. I'm sure you can find someone else willing you be your bitch and jump to attention at your beck and call."
Shock made her eyes widen, and he only felt the initial dash of regret. Up until her own eyes began to smolder. They were fairly patient people, hardly yelled at each other in true anger. To be honest, if their relationship was a statistic, he'd say they fought 3% of the time, 30% were wiseasses to each other, but the rest was what tied their relationship together.
But when they fought, it was explosive.
"What crawled up your ass and died, asshole? First of all, I was just worried!" she shouted. "Secondly, you have some nerve to even insinuate that I treat you like you're less than what I actually do think about you!" Sun often didn't make sense when she was angry, but he's been around her enough to understand. Unfortunately, she also had the practice of saying exactly what she wanted to say without his interference.
He opened his mouth, but she brandished an arm to silence him, eyes narrowed in rage.
"Thirdly, if you didn't want to go shopping to be a bitch then all you have to do with fucking say so! I do have other friends."
He was rational, but the thought of her other friends just sent him over the edge. "Other friends like all those guys you went out with? You were never one for such casual dating in a short amount of time. What happened, Sun? Was your Romeo not there for you when you needed him?" It was a low blow, and he knew it the moment the words left his mouth. Still, his heart seized in his chest when he saw the hurt blossom on her face, and he wanted to take everything he said back, but she didn't give him time.
"If I want to date, then I can date whoever I damn well please! And you don't know anything going on between me and him—whether anything changed, whether or not I told him!" Her face was pale in her fury, but her eyes had a suspicious sheen that made him feel like the biggest bastard on the planet. Suddenly, all the fight went out of him, looking at her like this, even though he had a vague feeling of something twisting in his gut at her news.
"Shut up! I'll find my own way home. Find some time to take that stick out of your ass." He watched her whirl around, and he was left with the faint scent of her body spray teasing his senses, not to mention a crowd of people staring at him with expressions that told exactly of their thoughts. They didn't look like they were on his side either.
With a scowl, he stalked away opposite to her direction even though his car was where Sun was headed.
He screwed up.