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CHAPTER 1 (IATB)

CHAPTER 1 (IATB)

Jan 11, 2023

CHAPTER 1  —  PUPPY ANALOGY

[DANESH]

Whoever can it be at this hour? Can't a guy get a little bit of peace and quiet for at least ten minutes? I, begrudgingly so, stand up from the very comfy couch and make my way to the door, which someone has been incessantly knocking for the past few minutes.

If only I'd known earlier who was at the other side of the door, I wouldn't have even bothered standing up. My heart stupidly picks up its pace at the sight of him — I am definitely chalking that up to my anger. I breathe in deeply to keep it under control; according to my therapist I am making a steady progress in regards to my issue, but for some reason whenever I am around this guy, I particularly find it hard to believe that. He actively makes my blood boil, and there is nothing more I'd rather do than punch his face.

Ok, deep breaths, Dan. Deep breaths.

"Zacharrine,"

The nuisance looks up for a split second, before quickly looking back down.

"Oh, hey," he mumbles, still keeping his gaze fixed to the floor — that doesn't mean I am not looking at him. "I'm sorry, can you get Val?"

I squint at him curiously — there is definitely something off about him. Usually, he would have just barged right in, or said something stupid with his stupid smile just to piss me off. He loves to piss me off for some reason. 

But not today. Today, he stands silently, not even looking at me, but at the floor. 

I open the door wider, just a little. I don't know why I did that, my sister isn't even at home.

"Actually she isn't here right now," I inform him.

"Oh," he is still looking down, his shoulders slumped, and you can literally hear and feel the disappointment in his voice. It is weird. I don't even know the guy is capable of being anything other than annoyingly cheery, "I'll just... go then,"

I don't say anything, I just stand there. I can tell there is something bothering him, that something has him upset. You can tell just by looking at him. He won't even look me in the eye. I don't know why that bothered me more than it should and as he starts to take a step back... I don't know how to explain it, but it kind of starts a funny feeling in my stomach.

It's like when you see a stranded puppy on the side of road and it's raining and it's all alone, and... you know, how can you just leave it like that?

That's why I stop him from leaving, and invite him in for a cup of tea. That is all there to my invitation really, nothing else. I still don't like him, he's an absolute idiot and a colossal pain in my ass. 

Then, when you can't leave the puppy alone, and you bring him to your house and offer it milk or something, and then the puppy just takes advantage of you and just starts running around, and starts making a mess of everything...

Well apparently, my unwanted guest doesn't drink tea, and practically demands hot chocolate, with extra sugar, and precisely seven marshmallows. I put in an extra marshmallow just to tick him off, but he doesn't notice it — okay, I just wasted one then, should have put less instead, not extra one.

Instead of just sitting in the kitchen and drinking it, he coolly saunters off to the living room and plops down on the couch — right on my spot where I'd set all my pillows and blanket. I pointedly glare at him but again he doesn't notice. He doesn't seem to notice anything; he is too wrapped in his own thoughts. Deciding not to say anything, I sit on the arm chair and just look at him. Since he isn't looking at the floor anymore and is just looking straight ahead, I can properly look at his face.

And are his eyes red? And swollen? Shit, has he been crying? Should I ask him? What could have possibly happened? Why is he crying? Should I call Val? Should I ask him?

Ok, wait...

What's this — why do I care? I don't even like him, and most importantly, he's not even my friend. Ergo, not my problem.

But he looks like he'd been crying, so as a good, or maybe functional human being, I should ask, right?

This is really stressful, I am just probably goin–

"What are you watching?" he suddenly asks.

"What?" I jolt up lightly, since I have been too immersed in deciding what I should do.

He just nods at the television. "Seems like you were watching something,"

"Oh yeah, it's just this movie — 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind',"

He snorts, and I look at him dubiously. It looked like he'd been crying, and now he is snorting at me. At me? So much for wanting to be a functional human being. I should've just let him go, damn the puppy analogy.

"What?"

"Don't think you'd be the type to watch rom-coms," he shrugs.

"Rom-com? This movie is not a rom-com," I defend myself. "Have you even watched this movie?"

"Yeah, and it is a rom-com! There's a guy and a girl — they fall in love, break up, and then realise they can't live without each other, and then get back together and live happily ever after," he smirks and then added in an exaggerated whisper, "Rom-com,"

I roll my eyes, shaking my head, "Yeah, no, that's not what this movie is,"

"Okay, yeah they have the whole thing with the memory wiping thing and whatever, but still the gist of it is still the same,"

I try to come up with a snarky remark and prove him wrong, but unfortunately only draw up blanks.

"Would you prefer if I kicked you out of the house now?" I threaten him instead and that manages to shut him right up.

"And I'm just gonna stop talking,"

Finally, I sigh. And then I catch him looking at me, bewilderingly, as if I'd sprouted another head.

"What are you looking at?"

"It's– Are you smiling?" he asks with a shit-eating grin on his face.

My hand instantly goes to my lips, damn it, I am, but I deny it anyway, "No, I'm not,"

"Ha, you so are,"

The best response would be to ignore him. And so I do, picking up the remote and press play, "One more word, find the door yourself and get lost," and then I increase the volume, so then I won't be able to hear him.

But still my ears somehow manage to pick up his voice, they always irritatingly do. "You smiled," he exclaims.

"Fuck off,"

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