CG: ARE YOU FEELING ALRIGHT?
GC: Y34H, 1'M JUST 4 L1TTL3 T1R3D.
CG: WELL, IT IS ALMOST 2 A.M…
GC: 1 KNOW.
GC: BUT 1 DON'T W4NT TO SL33P.
GC: B3C4US3 1 W4NN4 K33P T4LK1NG TO YOU.
I can imagine Karkat blushing right now. I smile to myself.
CG: THANKS, TEREZI.
CG: I WANT TO KEEP TALKING TO YOU TOO.
"Hey babe?" Dave yawns from our bed.
"Come back to bed, it's so lonely without you." I hear rustling behind me.
"1'LL B3 TH3R3 1N 4 MOM3NT," I say distractedly.
"What are you doing anyways?"
"JUST, UM…JUST SOM3 L4T3-N1GHT SCROLL1NG THROUGH TH3 1NT3RN3T."
"Mmm…don't stay up too late. You gotta keep me warm throughout the night." I laugh a little.
"DON'T WORRY B4B3." I hear Dave mutter something and then go back to sleep. Soon enough I hear his light snores, and I go back to the computer screen. I notice that Karkat said something.
CG: DID YOU GO TO SLEEP ALREADY?
GC: NO K4RKL3S, D4V3 JUST WOK3 UP FOR 4 MOM3NT.
CG: I MISS YOU, TEREZI.
GC: 1 M1SS YOU TOO K4RK4T.
CG: HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO KEEP DOING THIS?
I sigh. 1 DON'T R34LLY KNOW…
GC: 1 C4N'T 4NSW3R TH4T R1GHT NOW.
CG: I UNDERSTAND.
CG: WELL, I'M GOING TO LET YOU SLEEP NOW. I KNOW THAT DAVE'S WAITING.
CG: SO…GOOD NIGHT, TEREZI.
CG: KARKAT AWKWARDLY KISSES TEREZI ON THE FOREHEAD.
CG: SLEEP WELL.
[CG (CarcinoGeneticsist) stopped pestering GC (GallowsCalibrator) at 2:04]
I grin at his attempt to role-play. He really hates it, but if it's for me, he'll try sometimes. I feel the ghost of his lips on my forehead, even though he didn't physically do it. TH4NKS K4RK4T.
I close the laptop and get up, making my way towards the bed. I bump into it and crawl in. Dave instinctively puts his arm around me, even though he's completely asleep. I snuggle to him, wanting some sort of warmth right now. A million thoughts are running through my head, but I push them away; if I let them stay, I'll never be able to sleep. 1'LL TH1NK 4BOUT TH3M 1N TH3 MORN1NG…
Sleep befalls me quickly, but before I succumb to it, I whisper, "1 LOV3 YOU…"
It's like 6 a.m., and I can feel the sun's rays creeping up on me through the window. I've been awake for the past twenty minutes, just thinking. Thinking about Karkat and what we're doing…or trying to do. Thinking about Dave and how much he tries for me. Thinking about Nepeta, Karkat's girlfriend, and how much she loves Karkat. Wondering what Karkat's doing right now. Is he sleeping? Or is he awake right now, like me? Is he thinking, dreaming, about me? 1 WOND3R 1F H3 R34LLY DO3S F33L TH3 S4M3 W4Y L1K3 1 DO…
I sigh heavily. Dave stirs at my side, but he keeps on snoring. I turn my head towards him, wishing that I can actually see him so I can memorize what he looks like. Sometimes I wish I wasn't blind, but I make the most of it.
I lean over to kiss Dave's cheek, whispering, "1'M SORRY…"
Dave and I are strolling around town, chatting and holding hands. He keeps making corny jokes and I always tease him about it. We don't really know where we're going, but I'm trying to steer us away from anywhere Karkat would be. It's for the best right now, yet I can't help but feel a little tug in my chest, telling me to just run to Karkat and tell him everything, how I really feel, but I can't. It'll ruin everything.
"Terezi?" my boyfriend asks.
"OF COURS3. WHY?"
I feel him hesitate before he answers, "You let go of my hand." Then I suddenly realize that his warm hand isn't in mine anymore.
"O-OH D4V3, 1'M SO SORRY, 1 D1DN'T--"
"It's cool babe. We don't need to be holding hands all the time."
"NO D4V3, 1 W4NT TO HOLD H4NDS W1TH YOU. 1 GU3SS 1 W4S TH1NK1NG SO MUCH…" I lend my hand out, searching for his. But he puts his arm around my shoulders, holding me close and kissing my cheek. I smile to myself, loving how affectionate he is with me. I snuggle into his side, trying to let him know how important he is to me. But then that leads me to thinking about Karkat again. I remember how we used to talk, so carefree and easy. All of our friends thought we were together. Karkat and I used to joke about it, saying stuff like might as well be official, everyone thinks so. But we didn't want to, not yet. I don't know why we didn't just go out at that time, because now there's like a huge distance we have to keep.
I sigh a little. Dave rubs my shoulder as we keep on strolling mindlessly, making me feel guilty thinking about someone else. WHY C4N'T 1 STOP…?
Dave and I stumble out the club into the night, drunk as hell and laughing non-stop. It was a blur of dancing and lights that I'll never see. We swagger down the block, half-falling on each other, when I bump into him, smelling his cherry blood right away.
And he's with Nepeta.
"W-WHO4...!" I hiccup. "'SUP GUYS…!"
"Tereziii!" Nepeta squeals, hugging me tight, but then pulling away a little. "Are you drunk?"
I nod. "Y34H…!" I hiccup again.
"How's it goin Nepeta…?" Dave asks, swaying on his feet. I put a hand on his shoulder to keep him steady. I hear Karkat mutter something under his breath.
"Oh you know! Just being with my Karkitty!" I know that she's grinning widely, holding onto Karkat's arm, making me wish that was me. W41T…WH4T 4M 1 TH1NK1NG…? "What about you?" she asks.
"Oh…! We just got out of the club…!" Dave answers. Then we all just stand in the middle of the sidewalk, not saying anything, but I feel Karkat's eyes on me. I yearn to be by his side, like we used to, but we have to keep a distance. Agitation is emanating from him, and I know he wants to close that gap too. I want to blurt 'I love you' to him, but I can't do it.
"HEY, TEREZI," Karkat finally says.
"H33333Y K4RKL3S…!" I wave at him, pretending to be perfectly happy. Nepeta giggles at the exaggerated greeting.
"Oh Terezi, you're so silly! You know what would be a great idea?"
"What…?" Dave questions.
"Let's all eat out together!" she suggests. My blood runs cold and Karkat's eyes widen. Both of us know how dangerous that would be. All the pent up emotions will overwhelm us, and we might do something…something wrong to throw off the precarious balance we've tried so hard to maintain.
"R-R34LLY?" I ask nonchalantly, my voice breaking a little.
"YOU SURE THAT'S A GOOD IDEA, NEPETA? THEY ARE PRETTY DRUNK…" Karkat chimes. But Nepeta waves that away.
"They'll sober up with some food! Right?"
"Duh," Dave says. "Let's go Terezi…! I'm pretty hungry anyways…"
Karkat and I hesitate. How are we supposed to keep this up, if we're going to be in close proximity?
"SUR333," I finally relent. "WHY NOT?"
The mutant blood sighs. "OKAY THEN. LET'S EAT." Both Dave and Nepeta cheer happily, but Karkat and I are just dreading this.
All four of us are at Applebee's, sitting in a booth in the back. Karkat and I are sitting next to each other, while Nepeta and Dave are across from us. For some strange reason, they insisted that we Karkat and I sit together, saying some shit about how it makes complete sense, when it clearly doesn't! To keep the distance, I'm against the wall, and Karkat's on the edge at the other side of the seat. TH1S SHOULD B3 3NOUGH…
Nepeta and Dave are chatting up a storm about something. I don't understand how they can be so sure that Karkat and I aren't going to do anything and practically leave us alone. 1 TH1NK TH31R LOV3 FOR US 1S B1GG3R TH4N TH31R F34R…
I mean, Dave and Nepeta are pretty insecure people. Nepeta can't bear thinking about life without Karkat, and Dave won't even acknowledge the possibility that I might leave. Not that I'm planning to, but still. Are they really that comfortable right now?
"Karkitty!" Nepeta scolds playfully, finally noticing our positions. "Why are you sitting like that?"
"Word Terezi. What's with you pressed up against the wall like that?" Dave asks.
That only makes us even more on edge. "U-UM…"
"Relax!" the olive blood assures. Slowly, we ease closer together. I feel their eyes on us, encouraging us to get closer, if only just a little. BUT TH4T'S B4D…
We're halfway through our meal, easy conversation going around. I try to participate, but all I can think about is how strong Karkat's cherry scent is, sitting right next to me. My heart's beating fast and I desperately want this to end, yet I don't. I mean, I finally have Karkat close to me, but it feels like torture not being able to touch him the way I want to; the balance is at stake.
Out of nowhere, I feel his hand sliding through mine and loosely keeping it there. I blush hard, but I try to calm down before Nepeta and Dave suspect anything. Then he slides a little closer to me, and I start to have trouble breathing. I know he wants me to react, and I really want to just tell him I love him and kiss him like crazy.
I feel his eyes staring hopefully at me, so I thread our fingers together, tightening my grip. Karkat sighs in happiness, glad to know he has this moment with me. BUT 1T'S NOT GO1NG TO L4ST…
We both keep on eating, as if nothing is going on. HOW LONG C4N W3 K33P TH1S UP?
In Nepeta's jeep, Karkat, Dave, and I are in the back, and Nepeta's at the wheel, driving Dave and me home. I'm resting my head on Dave's shoulder, while still holding hands with Karkat. I feel like such a cheater, doing this. I love Dave, I really do, but Karkat's everything to me. When Nepeta and Dave went to the bathrooms, it was like I was on Cloud Nine, kissing Karkat as much as I was able to, not knowing when I can do it again, if I ever can. For the umpteenth time, I wonder, WHY D1DN'T W3 G3T TOG3TH3R…?
Nepeta's humming happily to herself, and I feel bad for her. She's such a sweet girl who's worked so hard to get Karkat, and look at what I'm doing. I feel Karkat nodding off at my side, and Dave's jamming to his iPod. I take this chance to whisper in Karkat's ear, "1 LOV3 YOU," knowing he won't hear it. It makes me sad, but that's the only time I can say it.
Quickly, Nepeta stops in front of our apartment building and announces, "We're here!" I pull my hand away from Karkat's and get out the car with Dave. Nepeta and Karkat get out as well to say good-bye. The olive blood hugs me tightly again, saying, "It was fun spending time with you Terezii! I hope we can do this again, h33!"
"TOT4LLY," I say in agreement.
She lets me go and hugs Dave as I turn to face Karkat.
"THIS WAS NICE," he comments awkwardly.
"YUP," I say. Then he shuffles towards me, hugging me tighter than Nepeta.
"I'M SORRY," he whispers, stroking my hair. I'm too choked up to answer. That tug in my chest comes back, and all I want to do is throw everything away to be with him again.
We pull away slowly once Nepeta bounces towards the jeep. "BY3, K4RK4T," I say.
"BYE, TEREZI." He walks away and gets in the front with Nepeta. Dave approaches me and puts an arm around my waist, waving at them as they drive away.
I wake up, startled, to the sound of my phone ringing. "SH1T," I curse under my breath, scrambling to get it. Thankfully, Dave doesn't wake up. I get out of bed and pick it up. "H3LLO?"
"K4RKL3S WH4T TH3 F--?!" I almost shriek.
"I KNOW IT'S LATE, BUT I WANT TO SEE YOU."
"WH4--WH4T T1ME 1S 1T?"
"4:13 A.M." I almost explode. "COME OUTSIDE," he repeats. "I'M IN FRONT." Then he hangs up. I shake my head, but I go get my leather jacket and shoes on, not bothering to change out of my pajamas, even though I probably look like a mess.
I tip-toe out the room and pass through the apartment. Dave says it's really modern-looking, but we could be living in the dump and I'd barely notice. But everything I touch feels expensive: marble floor, steel refrigerator, glass figurines. I don't know how I don't break anything throughout the day.
I make my way to the apartment door and slip through silently, feeling like some sort of burglar. I go down four flights of stairs. I could've used the elevator, but something within me is in a rush to see Karkat. In a flash, I'm outside the building, sniffing the air for his cherry blood.
"TEREZI," he calls out a few yards away from me. I hear him approaching me and all of a sudden, I feel his lips on mine. He pulls me close to him, running a hand through my hair. I wrap my arms around his neck, but then I harshly push him away. "TE…?" I imagine his face falling.
"WH4T 4R3 YOU DO1NG?" I hiss.
"I WANTED TO…"
"1'M NOT YOUR BOOTY C4LL YO."
"I-I KNOW, BUT I JUST WANTED TO SEE YOU."
"WHY?" I cross my arms.
"I MISS YOU." Hearing him say it out loud brings a warm feeling inside me. "I DON'T WANT TO HIDE MY FEELINGS FOR YOU ANYMORE."
"WHY?" I retort, pushing down that warm feeling. "YOU'V3 B33N DO1NG 1T FOR Y34RS."
"AND I REGRET IT," he says flatly. "I SHOULD'VE ASKED YOU OUT SOONER…"
"WHY D1DN'T YOU?" I half-cry, sudden tears welling up.
"BECAUSE I WAS SCARED! I WAS SCARED TO LET YOU, THE ONE WHO KNOWS ME THE BEST, IN MY HEART." He sighs. "BUT THAT WAS STUPID; YOU'VE BEEN IN MY HEART THIS WHOLE TIME." He takes a step towards me, but I step back. No matter how much I want him close to me, I have to keep the distance, even if he's being crazy.
"SO WH4T W3R3 YOU W41T1NG FOR?" I ask quietly.
"THE RIGHT MOMENT. I THOUGHT THAT IF I HAD ENOUGH TIME, I'LL WIN YOU OVER, THE RIGHT WAY. BUT I KEPT VACILLATING TOO MUCH BETWEEN RED AND BLACK. I KEPT THINKING, IF I KEPT THIS UP, I'LL BE ABLE TO SAVE US ONE DAY."
"W3LL, YOU LOST YOUR CH4NC3."
I turn my back to him, a few tears escaping. "W3 SHOULD JUST G1V3 UP, K4RK4T."
"TEREZI, YOU CAN'T MEAN THAT. I LOVE YOU--"
"NO! PL34S3 DON'T. S4Y 4NYTH1NG BUT TH4T." 1'LL B3 TOO T3MPT3D TO RUN B4CK TO YOU 4ND K1SS YOU.
"IT'S TRUE THOUGH."
"K4RK4T PL34S3. W3 H4V3 TO K33P 4 D1ST4NC3."
"FUCK THAT, I WANT YOU. AND I KNOW YOU FEEL THE SAME WAY."
"1 DO, OK4Y?! 1 DO. BUT 1 TH1NK 1T'S TOO L4T3." I hear him approach me again, and this time I let him. He holds me from behind, sniffling a little. I know that he's starting to cry too. "YOU H4V3 N3P3T4, 4ND 1 H4V3 D4V3. 1F YOU R34LLY LOV3 M3, K33P TH3 D1ST4NC3."
"1T'S H4RD, 1SN'T 1T?" I turn to face him. "BUT 4T TH1S PO1NT, S4V1NG US M34NS L3TT1NG GO." BUT M4YB3 ON3 D4Y…
Karkat doesn't say anything, but he kisses me softly on the lips, wiping my tears away. I do the same for him. "I'LL COME BACK FOR YOU…"
"YES." I hold up my pinky, and he links it with his own, kissing me again.
"1'LL B3 W41T1NG TH3N."
Dave and I are walking around town again, feeling the late afternoon sun on my skin. It's been two months since that night, and as promised, we've kept our distance. I spend my days with Dave and my friends, trying to forget. Unfortunately, I can't do it. But I try anyways.
After a while, I realize that Dave has taken me to the park. I hear the water fountain as he steers me towards it. "D4V3, WH4T 4R3 YOU DO1NG?"
When we get in front of it, he answers, "Making a wish." He takes out two coins and hands one to me.
"1 DON'T G3T 1T."
He chuckles. "Just close your eyes and wish for something as you throw the penny into the fountain."
"1'M BL1ND D4V3, NO PO1NT 1N CLOS1NG MY 3Y3S," I say in a slightly sarcastic tone.
"Riiight. Just throw the penny in!"
"F11N3." I take a deep breath and wish for Karkat as I throw the coin in. It makes a small splash and Dave rubs my back affectionately. We start to walk away from the fountain when I hear:
"TEREZI?" I freeze.
"Y-Y43H?" I say cautiously. Both Dave and I turn, only to smell his cherry scent again, accompanied with Nepeta's scent. FUCK.
"Heyy guys!" Nepeta greets.
"Nepetaaa!" Dave exclaims, the obvious smile in his voice. They go to hug each other, but Karkat and I just stand there, feeling awkward.
"What'cha doin?" Nepeta asks.
"JUST M4K1NG 4 W1SH 4T TH3 FOUNT41N," I answer.
"THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT NEPETA AND I JUST DID," Karkat says incredulously. I perk up a little. 1S TH1S CH4NC3?
"Wow what a coincidence!" Dave says.
"Yeah, h33!" Nepeta chirps. "Well, we gotta go and catch a movie, s33 y'all later! Let's go Karkitty!" They start to walk past us, and Karkat's shoulder brushes mine. I instinctively lock pinkies with him surreptitiously. He holds on tightly, and we try to keep them locked until the distance is too great and we have to let go, making my heart break. I feel tears forming, but I refuse to release them. 1 LOV3 YOU, I say internally, hoping Karkat finally hears that.