Sorry about the self promotion, but I'd really love it if someone were to read my short story, "The Writer's Enemy!"
Does anyone here like musical theatre? If you like musicals, do you like Dear Evan Hansen? If you don't like Dear Evan Hansen, GO LISTEN TO IT RIGHT NOW! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT! IT'S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING EVER AND AHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
Okay. I'm okay.
Enjoy the chapter. (It hasn't been proofread, because I'm lazy, so if it sucks, now you know why.)
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: LEO
"Love is a friendship set on fire." ~Laura Hendricks
I'm just starting to think hey, maybe I should go to sleep sometime soon, and preparing for the insomniac hours spent just lying there, when I hear a knock on my door. Four taps, a pause, two taps. It's exactly the way Adara always knocks, except much softer.
I'm slightly annoyed, but it's not like I was actually going to sleep, so it could be worse. If Adara (or whoever it is) interrupted the few hours that I actually manage, she would be in a lot of trouble. "Come on in!" I call, cringing when the door makes that awful creaking noise.
"Hi," Adara says sheepishly. "Sorry, did I wake you? Now I realize that four in the morning is an inconvenient time..."
"Nah, it's fine. It's not as though I sleep, anyway." I deliver it as a joke, but the dark circles under my eyes might make it a bit harder to find amusing. Maybe. But then again, it is my personal belief that I am very amusing. (There's a minor chance I'm biased, but whatever.)
"Very true," Adara agrees. The mattress groans as she sits down next to me. Instead of telling me why she's here, my sister twists her ginger hair around her fingers and pulls, hard. Again and again. Every time she yanks, she hisses in pain, but Adara keeps doing it.
"Are you okay?" I ask, concerned.
"I'm quite well, why do you ask?" Adara's voice is even faster than usual, another sign that she's worried about something.
"Because you're doing your hair thing again. You know, how you pull on it whenever you're nervous?"
Adara tugs on her hair again, the other hand covering her forehead like she's facepalming. "Really? I am? Ugh." When she twists a ginger curl around her index finger again, I can't decide if the irony is funny or sad.
"You're still doing it," I tell her.
She groans loudly and clasps her hands together tightly. The knuckles of her intertwined fingers are turning white from the force. "I really need to get better at not doing that," she mumbles.
"You really do. So anyway, what is it?" My overactive imagination is going crazy. Not much makes my little sister nervous- too little does, considering the stupid daredevil stuff she tends to do- so if she's being tentative, talking too quickly, pulling her hair... it must be pretty bad. A sharp pain in my lip reveals that I've been chewing on it mercilessly. Apparently being really really bad at avoiding nervous habits is just a family trait, or something.
Adara tugs at her hair so hard that a few strands come out, the coppery color standing out against my white sheets- the only thing in this house that isn't fire colored. I brush the hairs off of my bed, making a face. My sister's loose hairs on that place where I sleep, that's disgusting.
"I really don't think that's good for you," I inform Adara.
"Not sleeping isn't good for you either," she fires back.
I shrug. "Okay, fair point."
"Yes, I'm very smart," Adara declares with a dramatic hair flip, before she goes back to pulling it. Please keep that off of my bed, thanks, I think, brushing it away again.
"You're also stalling," I point out.
"Shoot, you noticed that. You're very observant."
I sigh, faintly tasting what seems like iron on my lower lip. Maybe I've been chewing it too hard. "Adara, I don't have all day."
"Night, technically," Adara corrects. Ugh, my little sister is so aggravating! Though honestly that's definitely something I'd say. So maybe I'm aggravating. Actually, scratch that maybe. But now is not the time to talk about my personality flaws. Now is the time to talk about Adara's personality flaws.
I roll my eyes. "Just get to the point. Or go away."
Adara throws a glance at the door, like she'd really much prefer to go away. Just when I'm thinking she's about to spill, she actually does get up to leave. Practically in slow motion, she twists the mahogany handle on the door and pushes hard, before remembering it's a pull door. Both of us suck in a breath as the door creaks, and I can hear three footsteps outside the door before Adara reappears in the doorway. Muttering "coward," she runs a hand through her hair, clasps her hands together tight, and sits back down.
"Just spit it out," I advise her. "Get it over with before you have time to change your mind."
Adara nods, sweating profusely, looking like she's going to be ill. My annoyance with her slowly trickles away as pity takes its place. "Please- please don't hate me," she manages.
Rubbing my temples in preemptive exasperation, I sigh "Oh Masaya, what did you do?"
Adara looks mildly offended. "I didn't do anything. It's-" Taking a deep breath, she looks side to side as if expecting someone to be listening in. Eyes shut tight, her voice lowers even further as she blurts "I think I like Skye."
I blink. "Okay."
"As more than a friend," she clarifies, so softly that I could barely make out the words.
After taking a deep, ragged breath, she asks "You don't... mind?"
I nod. "Listen, Adara, I'm not going to judge you for that. You can like girls or boys or potatoes or whoever, and I'll be okay with it. Promise."
Adara nods, giving me a shaky "Okay."
"And you know, a lot of people will disagree, but I think it's totally fine to like the same gender- I've kissed a boy before." I tell her without thinking. As I follow my own advice of blurting, it comes to my attention that I'm not very good at advice giving. At Adara's look of disbelief, I elaborate. "My friend Sam... you remember how their gender changes, so like sometimes they're a boy and sometimes they're a girl and sometimes they're neither? We used to have like a romantic thing, so you weren't totally wrong, and I've kissed them when they identified as a boy, and when Sam felt like neither, and when they were a girl. It never seemed to matter either way."
Adara's amber eyes, so much like mine, are wide and hopeful. "So... it's not just me? I'm not the only one... you know... like that?"
"Do you think... do you think Skye could... could like girls?" A ghost of a really excited expression flits over Adara's face before going back to normal.
"It's possible. A little rare, but maybe." Part of me feels bad for getting her hopes to be higher than "nothing," but what I said was the truth.
Adara smiles hesitantly and makes her way towards the door, cursing as she pushes it again. Just before she leaves, she says my name.
Finally, Adara smiles for real, the dimple we share appearing in her left cheek. "Thank you. For everything."
Oh, the struggles of pushing a pull door, and vice versa. I do that so much, it's really sad, honestly.
Also, Leo and Adara have a really great relationship. My sister and I could never be that close. Oh well.
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Thanks so much for reading!