Chapter Thirteen

Yeren’s eyes flickered from his laptop to me when I stepped into the room. “How’s your first day?”

I threw my bag to the bed and hurried to get a glass of water. “Super tiring,” I grunted, shaking my head. “I introduced myself not just once, but four times. It would have been much better if they just started the official lecture today.” Two gulps made their way to my throat, then I left the glass on the table. I removed my shoes and let myself fall on the bed.

“You have it easier. You wouldn’t believe it but when I was a freshman, the teacher asked me to dance after I introduced myself.” He gently closed his eyes and brushed his hair. The slight blush on his cheeks caught me to stare. It was very charming. “Doing the spaghetti thing in front of the class was the most embarrassing thing in my life.”

I rose, “You did what?”

He heaved a sigh as he closed the lid of his laptop. “Spaghetti… by Sexbomb.”

My snickers filled the room, trying to imagine him doing the legendary Filipino dance. I couldn’t have enough of it. The news was funny but fascinating.

“I wanna see you do that.”

He threw a pillow at me and dashed to the kitchen. “Anything you want for dinner?”

I followed and sat at the dining table, my hands pressed to the surface. “Stop changing the subject.”

He turned to me, “Don’t sit−“

He suddenly pulled my right hand that I lose my balance, my back falling on the table. My other hand grabbed onto him but his body dropped against my chest. My eyes widened. Our faces were only a few inches away. I could see every detail, from his forehead down to his jaw. The color of his eyes mesmerized me, drowned me into the depths of his gaze. We stared, and stared for who knew how long as our hearts throbbed into each other’s chest. The moment almost stood still until I felt a cold sensation on my back.

I gently pushed him away and ran my hands across my back. It’s wet. The glass in the table had been knocked down. I dashed to the toilet, looked at my face in the mirror. It couldn’t be redder. I immediately removed my clothes, ran outside, and dressed in a shirt I thoughtlessly pulled from the closet.

I watched Yeren while he cooked our dinner from the corner of his bed. The mess I made on the table had been cleaned. Guilt came on me in waves. I wanted to say sorry but couldn’t find the courage to. My heart would skip beats just thinking of calling his name.

The silence was unusually uncomfortable to move around with. There were so many words I wanted to say but couldn’t utter even a single one of them. Sorry. The first word. I wanted to assure myself that he wasn’t angry about what happened.

No− I wanted to convince myself that he wasn’t repulsed by it. Or what if he’s thinking that I pulled him intentionally? And hated it…

I looked away somewhere far off in the window. I saw nothing. My mind was doing something else. It traveled back in time, to that scene. He was staring but he wore no emotion. Our hearts throbbed into each other’s chest? Could be. But what if they didn’t? That it was just the bias of my own retrospection. My heart pounded, my lips trembled from the thought.

Yeren suddenly appeared in front of me. “Sorry,” I blurted out.

His snickers filled my ears. A breath of relief left my lungs as he laughed some more.

“What are you apologizing for?” He feigned an exaggerated puzzled look.

I laughed at how ridiculous his expression was.

“You finally laughed,” his face turned serious. “You may not notice but I’ve been watching you for a while. You were staring somewhere, making faces.” He knelt, pressing his hands on either of my hands. “You must be overthinking. It’s written all over your face.”

I looked away, “I just thought that you might hate me. What if you think that I intentionally pulled you? Or what if−”

“Shhh…” he interrupted, placing a finger on my lips.

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Then, he moved his hands on either side of my face, staring directly into my eyes. The warmth of his touch pinned me in place. “I can never hate you.” He sucked a breath and leaned forward. “I’m the one who’s afraid that you’ll hate me if I do this too often,” he whispered, his voice velvet soft. He pulled me closer until I could feel his breath on my skin. The pounding of my heart exaggerated for a moment. I could see nothing but his face, feel nothing but him and him alone− I closed my eyes.

His lips, warm and soft, pressed gently against mine. I tasted him, felt him in my mouth. He moved his left hand and the bed stirred behind me. I felt his weight on me, carefully pushing down. I wrapped my hands around his back, supporting myself as he lowered me. I pulled him closer and felt his heartbeats on my chest.

It’s wonderful how a simple kiss could change our being, or how it could change our view of the world. Everything I felt underneath his weight− and saw within the darkness behind the lids− was a retrospection forever burned in my memory. His body was gigantic above me. I sensed his strength, his lips pushed deeper; the ticklish breath on my cheeks and the happiness that I could barely contain in my chest, almost as if I was going to burst.

When I opened my eyes, Yeren was still above me, his head resting on my right shoulder. “I love you,” he whispered softly in my ears, making me quiver inside out.

Three words. Simple yet so powerful, and magical. The spell had conjured tears out of my eyes as it explained an insurmountable amount of things that had no language. I cried a waterfall, breathing helplessly under his warmth.

He pushed his palms beside my shoulders and wiped the tears from my cheeks. A deep breath left his mouth open. I didn’t know what I looked like, but I beamed with a smile. I gently lifted my back, leaning closer to him, and smacked my lips on his cheek.

“I love you too,” I whispered.

The words parched my throat. It seemed that all the strength in my body disappeared when the sound escaped my lips. And when he smiled, I was caught again into the magic of his eyes, the stares holding me under his weight. I sucked a breath, spun our bodies, me on top of him, then I rolled to his side, my back on him. The tears started to fill my eyes again. It wasn’t out of pain nor sorrow, they simply fell, as if trying to relieve the overwhelming happiness within me. I wanted to say the words again, over and over, until I had no voice left. I wanted to tell him, scream my lungs out in the world that I was in love.

I wiped my cheeks when he stirred from behind. “What happened?” he cried out. I looked back and saw a surprised look on his face. He held my left hand and revealed the slight bleeding of my wrist. It left a thunderous horror in my chest. An immediateness rushed to my nerves, I rose from the bed and hid my hand behind my back, my eyes avoiding his.

“It’s nothing,” I said as he rose from the bed. He stepped closer, I darted back. He took another step, and I moved back. It wasn’t too long until I had my back against the door. He held my right hand and guided me to the bed to sit down. He remained silent as I watched him dashed to the bathroom and returned with a first aid kit.

Yeren sat on the floor in front of me and held my hand. He gently wiped the blood from my wrist and looked up to me, “Does it hurt?”

I shook my head. The wounds didn’t hurt and even if it does, I was so used to the pain that I grew numb to it. The truth was− when I cut, it only hurts after slicing the flesh and the initial bleeding. It doesn’t hurt after a day or two no matter how deep the wounds were.

He rubbed cotton balls with alcohol in them and asked again if it hurts which I replied with another shake in my head. After a while, he wrapped a bandage on my wrist. Of course, I wanted to stop him, that thing would stand out too much. But the words failed to come out. He had a very lamblike expression on his face as he attentively tended the wound, almost as if he was on the verge of crying.

“What happened?” he softly muttered, staring directly into my eyes. “Did you hurt yourself?”

I couldn’t answer, which was an answer itself.

“I don’t know anything about you,” he said, wiping some tears that fell on his cheeks. “I want to know you more but I’m wondering if I have the right to. Everything is a puzzle to me, so many of them are missing pieces I want to gather. But I can’t do anything. I can’t even tell you to stop.” His tears fell like a waterfall. He gasped, covering his face with his hands.

A part of me stung, seeing him like that. Like I was causing him pain by merely existing. But I couldn’t do anything as well. My body couldn’t move, it was frozen, petrified by his image.

“Do you regret meeting me?” I finally asked, my voice barely audible.

He suddenly stopped and rubbed all the tears from his eyes and cheeks. “Of course not,” he cried out. “That’ll never happen. Don’t ever, ever think that, okay?”

I nodded, then he pulled my hand and clasped it dearly. “You are one of the few right things that happened to me… and I will forever be grateful for that. It’s just that it pains me that I can’t do anything for you.”

I hissed, “Idiot,” and flicked his forehead. “You’ve done so much for me. If it wasn’t because of you, I would have been dead by now, or killed.” A breath left my mouth as I stood up and pulled him. “C’mon. Let’s eat dinner. All this drama starved me.”

He laughed from behind. “This is why I fell for you.”

A warm feeling surged in my chest, my grip tightened on his wrist. I smiled and bit the back of my lower lip. I looked back to him, my lips widening to my ears. “Me too.”


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