Aquilo stares at the straw he has drawn with a sinking feeling.
“Hey, hey! Quilly!” God. It's happening. It's really happening.
“Aquilo, why the long face?” a chirpy voice says, and he unsubtly flinches when Cherry flings one arm around his shoulders. A chorus of ‘Ooo’s ripple throughout the train carriage. This causes Aquilo to fidget even more, blush deepening, while Cherry just grins wider. She holds up the straw she herself has drawn, which is approximately the same length as Aquilo’s.
Aquilo’s football team is going on a field trip to Brazil, and unfortunately for him that means an overnight stay in a train carriage between towns with his annoying childhood friend of all people. Just his luck. Currently the rest of their teammates are all aimlessly milling about after just having boarded the train at 7p.m. He groans.
“It's destiny, isn't it?” Cherry laughs, and at this Aquilo finally pushes her away from him, blue eyes wide open and face ablaze. His teammates surrounding him laugh, and the brunet next to him punches his shoulder playfully. Aquilo recoils immediately, burying his face in his hands. There is the sound of the automated door sliding open as their coach Mrs Green sticks her head into the doorway. She frowns, and everyone shuts up until she gives them a satisfied nod and leaves.
Aquilo would like to just go to bed but currently Cherry has very rudely and unwelcomely (at least in Aquilo’s opinion) barged her way into where the football team is resting. He wants to hiss at her to return to where the cheerleaders are in the next carriage talking things over, but his teammates are taking well to her. She's finally taken pity on Aquilo and is now discussing their band’s latest release with a redhead and a blond from his team.
Oddly enough, now that she's left him be, he really wants her eyes back on him and him only. He peeks out from between his eyes to glare at where Cherry still has her back turned to him, and now she's poking the blond’s chest and laughing. The redhead, Leonard, seems to notice Aquilo’s disgruntled state, and then he's pushing Cherry lightly towards his captain. “Go to him, say sorry,” he laughs, and Aquilo barely has time to be thankful that Leonard didn't catch onto his irrational jealousy before Cherry is back in his arms. Pull yourself together, Aquilo, he thinks furiously as he avoids Cherry’s gray eyes and just gapes at Leonard instead. Traitor. The quarterback simply smirks back at his leader.
Thankfully this time round nobody else comments, as the tired teens finally divide into their pairs. Cherry takes this as an excuse to yank Aquilo’s jersey and running at breakneck speed along the carriage, yelling “I call the last room!” He waves sheepishly at all of his surprised batchmates as Cherry pulls him along with a very strong grip.
They stop at the middle carriage where their baggage is at. Aquilo lifts his down from where it is stowed away at the top of the storages. Amusedly, he thinks that his nice and normal black luggage bag is a hundred times better than Cherry’s obnoxiously bright pink bag that also sort of resembles a Persian cat. Okay, fine maybe he finds it totally adorable but it's absolutely ridiculous. Even more ridiculous is the speed at which Cherry manages to drag both him and the luggage while running.
Cherry finally secures the furthest room. When they step foot into it, she instantly slams her hand on the button and flops on the bed when the metal door shuts. “A new record for the hundred meter dash,” she says proudly.
“Go away,” Aquilo moans fruitlessly, face first into the pillow. Why the hell is there only one bed here? The blond clutches the white blanket in his grasp. “Can't we switch?” Aquilo begs.
“All the rooms have only one bed, Aquilo,” Cherry calmly responds. She begins to stroke his back as though he were a frighten equine. “It's really comfy, though.” Aquilo can practically imagine her taunting smile as she begins to knead his shoulders. “It's really big, too,” Cherry continues, and this time there is a hint of something in her voice that makes Aquilo perk his head up.
Cherry rolls on top of him and stretches out. “Perfect for sleepovers!”
Aquilo splutters indignantly, pushing at her shoulders and trying to ignore his own blushing. “You haven't even bathed yet! You're disgusting!” And he is trying his best to not think about how good her weight felt on him, he really is, but his body chooses to betray him once again. He finds himself cowering underneath the smooth sheets to hide his shame. He wills his red face to return to normal, but alas, it refuses to listen to him.
The blond hears a tinkling laugh and the sound of something being unlocked. “Sure, I'll go first. Mind you, you don't smell any better!” Aquilo refuses to respond to that, and after Cherry is done rustling about she seems to finally find what she is looking for and leaves, wandering over to the small cubicle in the corner.
Only when he hears the telltale tinkling of water does Aquilo unearth himself from the blanket, slowly, cautiously. Instantly he bolts, slamming his palm against the button to open the door and makes a run for it outside. He knocks on the door nearest to him, and sure enough, Ferris is exactly where he said he would be.
He yawns and stretches. “Aquilo, hey,” he says in a tired drawl. “What's wrong?”
Curious, Ferris’s roommate - Jackson - peeks out, promptly decides that he wants nothing to do with whatever has gotten his captain into a frenzy, and slams the shower door shut. Aquilo winces at the bang. “Sorry, I forgot it was late. I'll go back now.”
Ferris stops scratching the back of his head. “No, really, it's fine. I'm a night owl,” he claims even as he lets out another yawn. “What's happening with you?”
Aquilo suddenly grips the small boy’s shoulders tightly, making Ferris yelp. “Cherry is trying to kill me,” Aquilo pleads. “Help! I can't take this any longer!”
Ferris blinks. “I can't help you with girlfriend trouble, man.”
“She is not my girlfriend!” Aquilo hisses. His blush flares back up again. Goddamn it.
The black-haired teen rolls his eyes. “Yeah, fine, whatever you guys call it these days. Okay, look,” Ferris pries Aquilo’s hands off his shoulder gently. “If you really can't take it anymore, tell her to back off. I think she understands. She's not that mean, from what I've seen of her.”
Aquilo buries his head in his hands and paces around the corridor. “N-no! It's just, I, um -” Damn, this blush just keeps intensifying. “I’m sleeping on the same bed as her and I'mfreakingout!” Aquilo half screams.
Ferris looks dumbstruck. “I, uh -”
“God, what if something happens?”
“W-we’re gonna be. On the bed. Together!” Aquilo screeches, except he's lost his last nerve and it comes out as more of a pathetic whimper.
Ferris is still in shock, shaking his head slowly to clear it. “I, uh, what the hell do you have in your mind right now?”
“I'm going to overheat and explode!” Aquilo suddenly freezes. “CrapIhavetogobeforeshecatchesmebye!”
Ferris is still utterly speechess as he watches the blond escape back into his own room. Aquilo gives one last glance back to him, still blushing, and shuts the door. He clutches his knees to his chest and sinks to the floor, rocking back and forth. Aquilo wants to explode and die.
From behind, he can still hear Ferris’s annoyed “What the fuck, Aquilo?” and he chuckles sheepishly before horror dawns on him. Crap, the walls don't have soundproofing. And that plus so many horny teens on board meant...
Aquilo closes his eyes and lets out one big breath of air. He doesn't open it until he hears Cherry step out and hum a question to him, to which he says flatly, “We aren't going to sleep tonight.”
“Why? What happened?” Aquilo dimly notes that for once, Cherry honestly sounds worried.
“...did you know the walls are really thin?”
Cherry hums again, this time in thought. “No, but I guess I do now. Go shower, Quilly,” she orders as she dumps her old clothes into her luggage. Aquilo finally looks up, but then his mouth runs dry as he realises Cherry has neglected to wear a bra. He lets himself indulge in running his gaze over their beautiful shapes, oh so tempting-
“I! Um, um! Yes!” Aquilo squeaks, banging his head against the door but hardly pausing to give it any thought, gathering his clothes haphazardly. “That is a brilliant idea,” he babbles as he starts collecting a random assortment of materials in his arms. “Absolutely marvellous. Fantastic. Amazing.”
Cherry is still fiddling with her phone but she turns it off to regard Aquilo curiously. He flushes even harder at her gaze, keeping his own eyes stubbornly on the wooden floorboard, which is by the way incredibly pretty and detailed. Consider him impressed.
“Anyway bye!” He squawks as he shuts the cubicle door. He immediately strips, sets the shower to the coldest setting available. He turns the knob so the ice cold water hits him hard and gets all over the floor. Aquilo splutters, somehow not expecting this to happen, but whatever, it was worth it. He quickly finishes up, spends five minutes after changing silently contemplating his life choices, before finally picking up his clothes and getting back outside. Good lord, this field trip hadn't been anywhere near as enjoyable as the baseball and track teams before them made it out to be.
He refuses to look at Cherry as he preoccupies himself with folding his clothes neatly, unfolding and refolding them until he's pretty sure Cherry’s asleep and he can stuff those in his luggage and then go into bed and then try not to make contact with her and get through this night hopefully alive.
“Aquilo?” Cherry whispers, and he all but groans. Of fucking course.
“Why are you not asleep?” Aquilo hisses through gritted teeth.
“...because it's only 7.45.” Cherry is cut off by a muffled moan to her right. “Also, Lynette and Xu Xing are like, totally getting it on right now.”
“This is just great,” Aquilo grumbles as he rolls over. “Good night anyway.” He scowls as he buries his head under the pillow as he hears a delighted scream.
“Don't sleep with wet hair, Quilly. Let’s talk. I'll keep you company.”
He rolls back to face Cherry. “No,” he growls, and smothers his face with the pillow again. Is he really still blushing? At least she's covering herself now.
Cherry coughs. “I, um, am sorry if I creeped you out just now? I put on, uh, a...bra...after you left. Sorry, it kinda slipped my mind. Haha.” It’s the first time Aquilo has heard her sound so... awkward. He's not sure what to do, so he just rumbles a reply, waves his hand around, and then falls silent. The awkwardness is broken by more grunts and cries from next door, and Aquilo heaves a long sigh.
“Man, they're loud,” Cherry says. “Hey, Quilly, do you think we can be even louder?” She wrenches the pillow out of his grasp, and Aquilo notices the cheeky grin back on her pale face.
“What are you implying?” Aquilo asks wearily. Warily. Whatever. Words are getting all muddled in his head right now and his eyes trace the motion of Cherry’s tongue as she licks her lips.
Cherry doesn't reply, but the blond yelps as she flops on him and hugs him to her squishy chest. He's sure the girl can hear the heartbeat hammering in his own chest, and he's pretty much resigned himself to blushing his face off at this rate. His hand itches to reach for his phone and call his parents to take him home this instant. He wants to tell her to get off but his mind betrays him once again as he wraps his arms around her to return her embrace. “Go away,” he grumbles halfheartedly.
Cherry rolls her eyes affectionately and then Aquilo gets the second shock of his life today when she nuzzles him. He feels so damn hot, he's sure he's going to get a heart attack any second now and goddamn it the curly-haired girl knows what she's doing to him. Is there a such thing as humming tauntingly? Because she's definitely doing that, leaning back and putting on a face that's way too innocent but still batting her eyelashes at him. Crap shit fuck if she keeps this up he really does want to scream.
“That sound you just did was good, Quilly. Keep this up and we won't be sleeping tonight either,” Cherry giggles, and then something snaps inside of him. Fuck her, he’s not sure if Cherry is just being Cherry but hell if he’ll just sit here and take it.
“Yeah?” he growls dangerously, and Cherry barely has time to react in shock before he's slamming his lips against hers forcefully.
Aquilo quickly realises that this is a bad, bad idea and quickly attempts to pulls away, but Cherry recovers way too fast for his liking to pull him in closer, flicking her tongue at his lips teasingly to ask for entrance, and he for some reason obliges and oh no he should really stop this isn't good it's moving way too fast-
And then the blond moans into Cherry’s mouth as her tongue delves into his inviting heat, muddling his thoughts and making him clutch harder at her strong back. Cherry’s lithe fingers find their way into his hair, gently weaving between the soft locks, her other hand squeezing his hip delicately, and Aquilo’s head spins as he pants sloppily, closing his eyes. She draws his tongue into her mouth, sucking on it, and then all semblance of thought is forgotten as he lets out a pleased moan.
Finally they separate, gasping and chests heaving for air, and Cherry fixes him with a look of surprise. “I wasn't expecting that from you,” she murmurs as she pulls their chests together once again, and thankfully the padding between them prevents Aquilo from losing his mind. “Aren't you like, the goodest goodiest two shoes around?” she huffs, continuing to stroke his hair. “Since when did you become so eager?”
“I don't claim to be above our schoolmates in that department,” Aquilo hisses as he glowers at her.
Cherry pokes his cheek. “I can't believe you’re still so grumpy, lighten up, jeez.”
“...stop teasing me, Cherry,” Aquilo says, his voice quiet with not-so-subtle touches of bitterness in his words. He crosses his arms and turns away, refusing to look at her. Cherry stubbornly refuses to take the hint, getting closer and doing her best to stroke his hair reassuringly. “Aquilo?” Cherry questions.
Aquilo clenches his fists and he's shaking where he sits. “Stop that! Stop doing whatever you're doing!” What the actual fuck, why is he crying about her in front of her. It's as if the universe himself is conspiring against him.
Cherry says nothing and holds him as he continue to shake and whimper and cry in her arms, but he doesn't protest this time. “Stop it,” he whispers again sulkily, even though he's pretty sure she's gotten the message by now. Shut up, he's allowed to be a little cranky if his crush is being so awful. And he really can't accept that he has a crush on Cherry of all people. Cherry, who goes around and fucks with people’s minds with her sense of mischief. He really should have known better, but he can't help being drawn to her despite that fact, and it hurts for some reason.
Cherry continues to soothe him with her actions until his sobs finally quieten to absolutely fucking pathetic sniffles, and then she's quietly asking, “What did I do?”
Aquilo wipes his tears away furiously with the back of his hand. “Okay, I honestly get that you're super annoying and that's your thing, but I would like to kindly and politely ask you to stop fucking giving me so many mixed messages!” He glares at the curly-haired girl, though the impact is surely lessened by his puffy red eyes. Her shocked expression catches him off guard, however.
“Do you like me, or don't you?” Aquilo whispers, suddenly deflating. “I don't know. I really don't know. It's hard to tell when you’re always like this.” He brings his knees up so he can bury his head in them, and dear god why is his heart still thumping wildly?
Silence, and then, “Aquilo, so you're saying...?”
“I think you like me, and then you go off to flirt,” Aquilo growls, “with some other random guy. And then you're back, and you're all like ‘oh hi, BFF!’ and I'm like, oh okay, so I guess she doesn't! But then you go and...you go and do…” he gestures widely. “...this. So now, I don't know! I'm just confused!” He clutches the fabric of his pants tightly. “If you really don't like me that way, I promise I'll be fine. Just, just stop. I'm so tired of dealing with this,” Aquilo says, even as heat pools in his cheeks at the memory of the kiss and he stubbornly refuses to look at her.
More silence, and then Aquilo flinches as he feels arms around his neck and her soft chest pressing against his body, oh crap not again. He struggles a little, but Cherry holds him firmly in her grasp and he gives up as a sob rises in his throat. “I'm sorry,” she whispers somberly. “From now on, I'll give you all my attention. How's that sound?” Cherry asks as she brushes his brownish hair back and kisses his temple.
Hope flares in his chest as Aquilo absorbs her words, but he still refuses to look at Cherry out of shame for crying so easily. “You do like me,” he murmurs, more as a memo to himself than anything, and then he's really glad that Cherry is still behind him. No way is he going to let her see his big dumb grin.
“Yeah,” Cherry says, and he detects the hint of worry in her voice. “I'm sorry, I just, I... I really didn't think you’d take it that way. I never really thought what I did was... flirting.” She nuzzles Aquilo with her cheek again. “I only have eyes for you, I swear.”
“I'll forgive you if you go out with me,” he says bluntly.
She hums as she leans her head on Aquilo’s broad shoulder. “I think that can be arranged,” she says thoughtfully.
“And our first date had better not be at some crappy fast food restaurant,” he demands, and he knows he's being just a teeny bit petulant right now but who cares, Cherry owes him a huge pile of stuff. He feels giddy and overwhelmed, laughter spilling out of his throat. Then Aquilo’s world abruptly comes to a crashing halt as he realises he hears numerous whoops and cheers at his door.
“For goodness’s sake, finally!”
“Go get them, Captain!”
“Lynette, you owe me $20! Now!
“Good job, guys! Now fuck!” Followed by taunting whistles and more gleeful cheers.
Aquilo buries himself underneath the covers, resisting his urge to storm outside and smack his stupid (and apparently voyeuristic) teammates into next week. “Nooo,” he groans softly. “My life is over.”
Cherry for her part doesn't seem to mind. “Your friends seem absolutely lovely,” she says as she tries to soothe the blanketed heap.
“No, they're all idiots who don't know the meaning of privacy. No wonder they like you so much.” Damn, he really should have known something was up when that dreadful moaning stopped.
Cherry laughs. “Sure thing, Aquilo.”
“Anyway, I'm going to sleep for real. Good night, Cherry.” It's been exhausting today, Aquilo thinks as he rolls over on top of the pillow. He uncovers his face from the blanket, but very shamelessly snuggles right into it, looking very satisfied.
“Good night, boyfriend,” Cherry teases, tucking him in delicately and kissing his forehead, and this time Aquilo doesn't bother to hide his smile.