My friends usually praise me because of my voice.
It's not that I hate being complimented because of it; I appreciate it, actually... But being a socially awkward introvert, you should understand how I feel about too much attention; especially in a crowded building bustling with curious students that judged everything by what they see, never what's behind the pretentious and protective masks.
But that's not the point. The reason I'm saying this is because, well... I've proven my friends wrong. I think I've found someone who would fit the role more perfectly than me. I mean, if you heard that voice of his, laced by that thick accent, you'd know what I mean. And when he says 'ch'... Oh God.
"Cool, man. Wait for me after school, okay?" My thoughts were interrupted by Ken, a guy from the other class. He was leaning beside Pewds, who was taking his books from his locker while they chatted lightly. Thank fuck for Ken, I might have been discovered while in my dazed state. "I'm so excited... Hey, I really appreciate you paying for my tokens. Thanks, buddy."
"Don't worry about it, bro. C'mon, let's head back to class." I slip further away from the open hallway, hiding beside the lockers as I silently prayed they wouldn't see me and breathing a sigh of relief as they passed me by, unsuspecting, and finally entering their classroom. After making sure the coast is clear, I also went inside, heart almost pounding out of my chest as I realized he was my seatmate for the next class.
Now, before you judge me, I'll say it myself. I am a creep, a stalker. Well, maybe not to the extent of wanting and planning to be with him, devising diabolical plans and tactics to swoon him... More of following him, watching from afar, because I can't do anything else, too constricted by my own chains of doubt, insecurity and cowardice.
As time stopped slowing for me, the seconds adjusting to the right speed, the bell rang and I tore my gaze from the window that reflected the beautiful blonde beside me, students stampeded the doors and before I knew it, it was dismissal time.
I crept my way behind the two best friends, managing to hide like a shadow until we arrived at the arcade. Casually stepping inside, I slipped on a cap I had bought to hide my identity and sat on one of the benches at the center of the store, guarding him with my eyes until the two got bored and left about an hour and a half after.
This wasn't the first time I did this, nor will I let it be my last. At least that's what I told myself, until one particular night...
As the night loomed around me, I crept through bushes and passed through tall trees, glancing behind to check that no one was following me as I snuck to the back of the house, looking for that one tree. The techno music beat loudly from the house, most likely disturbing the sleeping neighbors, and the bright lights from inside glared at the dull, faint glow of the streetlights outside.
I'm not supposed to be here.
After struggling to climb up the trunk and occasionally scraping my knee against the rough bark, I finally settled down, crossing my legs and sat on my favorite tree branch - this is where I always sit when he had parties like this in his house. Heck, I'm glad it hasn't broken yet; I have a perfect view of the window from here. Grabbing a bunch of leaves that I managed to gather a while ago, I scatter them around me and shuffle closer to the tree trunk, watching that window from afar.
Hours passed, and I found myself leaning on the rough bark, dozing off. I felt my hair and clothes pulled slightly as some of them got caught in the wood, but that wasn't why I woke up.
"Hello?" I panicked, shuffling towards the trunk to try and cover myself with the leaves as I heard the window being opened, followed by soft rustling. I could hear the tremble in his voice as he shakily raised his flashlight to me. "Wha-"
I heard a soft creak, followed by the bending of the branch I sat on. My eyes widened in horror and as soon as I realized it, the trusty branch gave in and fell to the ground weakly with a soft thud, and I shut my eyes at the incoming unbearable pain, but felt none.
None, except muscular arms on the nape of my neck and behind my knees.
"Are you alright, bro?" That damn accent...
I scrambled off from his arms, struggling to get away as soon as possible, even though my whole body protested against it, wanting to press closer to him, feel his warmth and take in that sweet smell... Chains of cowardice stopped me from reaching out to him.
I stumble away, running as fast as I could and hearing another pair of feet behind me, silently wishing he didn't recognize me, didn't realize who was stalking him all this time-
"C-Cry, wait!" he panted, losing his breath by every second, and finally stopping to breathe.
But I wasn't relieved. He knows me... He knows who his stalker is now and will start to drift away from me, detest me, glare at me with pure hatred in his eyes... I had feared this time would come.
As I walked down the road back to my house, head hung low, I felt tears prickle down my face. That night, I tried to sleep it all away, still worried about what tomorrow would bring.
I went to school late the next day: partly because I was reluctant to go, but mostly because I slept in. I guess I got tired, staying on that fucking traitor tree branch that snapped at the "perfect" moment. I shrunk in nervousness as I stood by the classroom door, last night's events playing in my mind and torturing me.
I opened the door, earning stares from everyone... Attention. Before I felt any more uncomfortable, I quickly muttered an apology to the teacher and walked to my seat, the stares, the whispering and snickering peeling off my decreasing sanity oh so carefully that I wanted to scream. I hated all these attention. I was relieved when I sat on my seat and they all stopped.
Well, except one. Pewds was still looking at me. I could feel it lingering on my back. What is he thinking? Is he mad? Am I going to lose him forever? Will he forgive-
I felt something hit the back of my head, and looked back to the source, straight at him. Pewds. He was looking at the window, avoiding my gaze. Was it just my imagination
I glanced under my chair, seeing the piece of folded paper he threw at me. Picking it up, I faced the blackboard, placing it on my lap and reading it to myself.
"Meet me at the rooftop at lunch break. There's something we need to talk about. -Pewds"
Was he going to tell me to stop following him around, to fuck off? The anxiety continued to bubble within me, compelling me to forget everything and hide in a hole in fear and regret, letting the chains tug me farther away from him.
But I knew I had to do this; it was now or never. If I don't, I might never be able to confront him about my own feelings, and I'll lose him forever. This could be my only chance. I sure as hell won't waste it.
Hours flew by so quickly that I found myself struggling to catch up with everything and before I knew it, I stood in front of the door to the rooftop, fidgeting, pacing back and forth, panicking... I was nervous, millions of thoughts, questions, what-ifs and mumbo-jumbo spiralling in my head.
Ah, fuck this.
I turned the knob with shaky hands and strode inside, facing whatever fate awaited me on the other side with a not-so-brave-and-confident expression.
For a moment, my nervousness seemed to dissolve. The sight of him never failed to leave me breathless, the chaos of my mind molded into a feeling of awe and so much love, even though it's always one-sided.
"S-So... Why did you call me up here?" I stammered, trying to break the tension and internally facepalming when I failed miserably and I might have only added more fuel to the fire.
"I just want to confirm something..." he began, stepping closer and the uneasiness started to bubble up once more, butterflies spinning excitedly in my clenching stomach and I knew that if he took another step closer, I'd explode. "I don't mean to sound egotistical or anything, but..."
I knew what was up next. Was I the one watching behind the shadows, the one who was there when he thought he saw something in the corner of his eye, the one making him paranoid and uncomfortable and-
"...A-A friend told me that you, uh... liked me. Is it true?"
What? But... how? Who... HUH?!
I looked up at him, eyes wide with shock and mind unable to form a coherent sentence. I was NOT expecting this at all... Then a thought struck me like a brick to the face. Why was he asking?
"Cry?" he called out, snapping me back to reality.
I blinked. "Oh, right... Sorry, uh..." I began to feel awkward.
"So... Do-Do you like me?" he repeated. There was a glint of hope in those sky blue eyes that I couldn't help but adore.
It's now or never, Cry. I braced myself, clenching my fists and taking a deep breath. "Yes. I have, for a long time."
Almost on cue, I felt strong arms wrapped around my back and my face pressed against his shoulder. I flinched at the sudden movement, but still he held me close, my hands resting on his chest.
"Thank God..." he breathed. I could hear the smile in his voice. That voice... We sighed happily, in unison, then he continued, "I thought it was one-sided."
My thoughts exactly.
His hands left my back and rose up to clutch my red cheeks, tipping my head up to face him. "Jag alskar dig."
He chuckled. "I love you."
I opened my mouth to respond, but suddenly no sound came out. The beeping of an alarm could be heard from the distance. The realization dawned upon me. No. No no no no no no... No!!
I awoke with a gasp, sitting up. I was at my bedroom, clutching a pillow. I grumbled and lied back down again, as if wanting to continue the dream from where I left off. But alas, it was no more.
Only when I took a second glance at the clock did I realize I was late.
After hurrying about and almost forgetiing to bring the cap I bought at the mall yesterday, I finally arrived at school. Glares shot through me as I took a seat and when I settled down, it stopped.
Well, except one. Pewds was still looking at me. I could feel it lingering-
Wait a minute... I feel like I've been in this situation before. Isn't this-
Suddenly a piece of paper hit the back of my head... Holy shit. How did I know it was a piece of paper?
I picked up the folded paper that was lying on the ground, and scanned through the words. Suddenly, the memories came shooting back to my mind and I felt my lips form a smile.
I remember now.