”How far are you? ” he asks me. ”Almost done. ” I answer, ”And…finishing touches…done. ”
”Alright, we show each other on three. ”
For some reason I take a breath in and out before nodding in his direction. He begins counting, ”One, two, ” Remind me why Im so nervous again? ”Three. ”
Its silent for two moments before Chase bursts into laughter and I simultaneously say, ”Wow. ”
”This is amazing. ” I tell him. ”Youve gotta be kidding. You took forever just to draw this? ” he asks me. ”Hey, don disrespect the drawing. Its cute. ” I say with an amused smile on my face. Its a drawing of two ghosts with speech bubbles next to each ghost. The one says, ”Boo ” to the other one and the other one says, ”Ahh ” Its cute.
He raises his hands in the air. ”Its just I expected better to be honest. ” he smiles at me, teeth and all.
”Turn the page, Genius. ”
He pauses his laughs and turns the page. Theres another drawing drawn at the back of the page. A random bald guy on the ground. Hes kind of defeated. He is, but not quite. I don think so. I think hes about to get up from the ground, but I doubt. Its a drawing so, hes stuck in the middle I guess – in between laying on the ground forever or getting back up again.
Its completely silent now. I watch as his facial expression changes from humoured to…I have no idea so, ”What do you think? ”
”This is amazing, Natalia. ” Natalia? No one calls me that. But I say nothing. I expected him to tell me I should see a therapist or to ask me if Im okay. Normally, thats what people think when they see my drawings, that theres something mentally wrong with me.
”Thank you. ”
”But mines obviously better though. ” he says and my mouth opens in humored surprise, ”What? Im just being honest, Natalia. My drawing is a **ing masterpiece. This would sell in less that 12 hours. ” he says with a smirk on his face. I mean hes not wrong. I would have done a better drawing if I knew he was going to compete with a drawing so meticulous.
”Its Natalie, Asshole. ” Im still smiling a little. It probably didn hurt him as much as I think I wanted it to hurt him.
”Then whyd Mason say, ”Natalia Zahra ”? ”
”Because it is Natalia Zahra. But everyone, and I mean everyone, calls me Natalie. ”
”And you prefer it that way? ”
”No. Yes. I don know. Its stupid, because Natalie is derived from the late Latin name Natalia, so they both mean ”Christmas Day ”. I was born on Christmas. Im only important on everyones favourite day of the year, Christmas. Although, even then, my parents only **ing care about hosting their shitty Christmas dinners for their shitty clients in our shitty home, so conclusion: Im never really important. ”
”Natalia. ” I hear Chases voice and my eyes snap towards him. His face looks concerned. I look down and I see why. I gasp, in genuine shock. I tore his drawing. It was too happy anyway. What the hell? I can believe I just thought that. Im awful.
”Im so sorry. ” I say, trying to get all the pieces back together. Damn, its a lot of pieces. ”Its okay. ” he says, laughing. Why is he laughing?
”How did I even make so many pieces? ” I ask. ”Well, you started by tearing the corner off and then you kinda just started shredding it deep into your…explanation. ” he lets me know.
”And you didn stop me? ” I ask, still trying to find all the pieces. ”Natalia, stop. I didn stop you, because its okay. Its not The Mona Lisa. ”
After a silent moment, ”Why do you have a guitar? ” he asks. I look at the corner where my guitar is just sitting on its stand like some type of display. ”I used to play and sing, like a lot. ” I tell him, a nostalgic smile making an appearance on my lips.
”Not anymore? ”
”Nope. ” the smile fades.
”Do you maybe want to give it a try? ” he asks and I look at him almost immediately. ”Uhm, Im not sure if I still can anymore. Its been a while. ”
”Good, then you need to do it. Just for old times sake. ” he tells me.
”Okay, fine, but first… ” I get up from my chair and leave my bedroom. Im not quite sure what time it is, but the corridors dark and so is everywhere else except my fathers study and my parents work dining room. Good thing Im not wearing any shoes.
I tiptoe down the hallway to my parents private at-home bar. Seriously, my parents trust me too much. I grab a bottle of White – Australian Chardonnay and start making my way back to my bedroom.
”Are you sure we should be doing this here? ” he asks, clearly excited but unsure at the same time. ”Where else are we gonna go? ” I ask and he pinches his bottom lip between both his index fingers. I ignore how much I want his fingers to touch my lips right now. We don even have to kiss, I just want him to touch me. Although, kissing him would be good too. But I snap myself out of the very thought that Chase and I could ever happen. I look at him, confused and curious at the same time.
I mean, yes hes **ing gorgeous and everything, but it just seems inappropriate now. If Chase and I didn sleep together the first night we met like I do with all the other guys, we never will. Him and I are friends. Its too late now.
In only minutes, Im using the branches to climb down the tall tree next to my balcony with a backpack filled with wine and weed on my back. Chase is waiting for me on the ground with my guitar.
”I told you its not that high. ” he says, as I land on my feet next to him. ”It is **ing high. Im just good at climbing down trees, even though Ive never done it before. And you said you would catch me if I fell. ” I backhand his stomach. Damn his extremely toned stomach.
”I was. ” he defends himself.
”How? Your hands are too busy holding my guitar. ”
”Okay, maybe I wasn , ” he says, my mouth now wide open in shock and betrayal, ”but I knew you weren gonna fall. ”
”You put my life on the line, you know that? More like on the tree, but still. ” my eyes are wide now. ”Stop being dramatic, if you fell, you wouldve broken a couple of bones, but you wouldn have died. ” he says and walks past me towards his car.
Hes not serious.
He puts my guitar in the backseat of his car, extends his hand forward and I hand him my backpack. When he turns around, I extend my own hand towards him. ”What? ”
”Im driving. ” I tell him.
”No way. ”
”And why not? ”
”You don know where we
e going. ” Just like that, he opens the passenger door for me, walks around the car to the drivers side, opens the door and gets in. What a **ing gentleman. I get in anyway.
”What is with you? ” I ask, closing the door once Im inside.
He starts the car and looks at me, ”What? ”
”You say something and its just end of discussion and you walk away. ”
”Because it is end of discussion. Im driving. ” the car starts moving.
”Yeah, youve established that, Asshole. ”
”Yeah, youve established that too, Natalia. ”
”Another example, I told you to call me Natalie. ”
”I like Natalia. ” One of those silent moments occur after he says that.
”Well, okay then. ” I say and look out the window on my side. He likes Natalia. ”Where are we going? ”
”To my apartment. ”