It was the silence that got you.
Even though the quiet buzzing of the heater kept the room from being too silent, the lack of conversation made you uncomfortable. You weren't really close friends with Yassan, so the sudden invitation to hang out at her place took you by surprise. Of course, curiosity killed the cat. It also prompted you to accept. No one had ever seen her house and you were one of the lucky ones to have the chance.
The house was relatively normal looking. A two-storey building with decent furnishings and photographs hanging on the walls. You didn't know what to expect. It certainly wasn't this though. And her mother was delighted at her daughter finally inviting one of her friends over, but you didn't want to let the woman down by saying you weren't really friends with Yassan, so you just nodded politely.
A quick gushing of the woman and a ushering up to Yassan's bedroom later, you sat in an uncomfortable silence. You sat on the floor, just across Yassan on the small table. She quietly flipped through her book. It's been five minutes. You both haven't spoken a word since you got here. But you gathered up your tongue and decided to make small talk.
"Yassan?" Great. Just speaking her name made your voice crack. Maybe it was the tension.
Without even looking up from her book, she made a small noise to tell you she was listening.
"Um, thanks for inviting me, but..." Would she be angry if you questioned her reasoning? What were you even supposed to do here anyway? Just watch her read her novel until it was time to go home? "Why... did you invite me over?"
"To hang out. I heard it's what high school girls do with their friends," she answered, flipping to the next page of her book.
You were both flattered and confused when she sort-of called you her friend. "Right."
That was the most you got out of her from that conversation, but you did manage to make small talk. Asking her questions worked. It only took a bit of prodding and digging for you to understand her a little bit better, and it took a few more minutes for you to grow comfortable around the "Literature Girl" of Sanada West High School.
"Ne, Yassan? What's "fanfiction" supposed to be?"
Running a hand through her hair, Yassan closed her eyes in thought. You knew what happens next. She replied, "They're stories about a popular series or persons created by lonely people who have a lot of time on their hands to waste on blatant wish fulfillment garbage . Whoever creates fanfictions should just do something productive for once. Like clean their room or do their homework."
"I-I... see. I didn't expect you to be like that with fanfiction. After all—" you were cut off by the opening of Yassan's bedroom door and her mother walking in with a tray of snacks and cups of warm cocoa for the both of you.
"Fanfiction?" Her mother questioned, setting down the tray on the table in front of you. After giving her a brief explanation, she smiled. "Oh. My daughter absolutely loves those!"
After an answer like that...? you thought, smiling instinctively. Your face must have shown disbelief or uncertainty, because her mother just told you more. Taking a quick glance at Yassan would reveal her red-faced, opened-mouthed, arms-flailing reaction. It was probably an attempt to get her mother to quiet, but the older woman ignored it.
"She does! She gushes to me about the ones she really liked reading, telling me how she wants to be able to write stories like that. Right now, she's only ever into stories like... What was it called again? I forgot what the name was, but I do remember something about a blonde cyborg and a bald man. Sometimes it's about those two characters falling in love, but other times, she tells me about stories where she was part of a love triangle between them. She even wrote a few of her own and tells me about how this brunette-haired boy she met by a riverbank became the inspiration for the main love interest in one of her stories. Ah, to be young again!"
At this point, you felt a little sorry for Yassan. She didn't look like she wanted to share that bit of information with anyone, but her mother had betrayed her. So you did what any friend would do: save your new-found friend from this embarrassment.
"I think I smell something burning," you said, sniffing the air for more effect. You just hoped that age-old distraction would do it, and miraculously it did. With the woman running down the stairs, you turned to your host who was hiding her face into her novel.
You gave your friend a reassuring smile. "It's okay. I don't think anyone would believe me even if I told them anyway."
In a few minutes, you were out of the house and out in the streets. Yassan hadn't taken your joke too well, it seemed, as she stood up abruptly. You, scared of her sudden movement and silence, excused yourself out of the house. What you didn't expect was for her to chase you around.
All throughout the chase, you kept on apologizing to Yassan. Even though you weren't quite sure if she was mad at you or not. After this, you were certain she'd never invite you over ever again. If chasing you until the other side of town was enough indication, she was one to hold a grudge.
Both exhausted, you collapsed at a bench in a small park and tried to catch your breath. Since you were withing arms reach, you expected Yassan to strangle you to death, but what you didn't expect was a hug from her.
"Thank you. You're... a great friend."
"Whoa! You've been spending tons of time with Yassan lately. You two friends?" one of your classmates questioned.
"That's right," was your simple response.
"She must like you a ton then! She doesn't just invite anyone over, you know?" she piped up again, a grin on her face.
That got your face burning brightly as you shook your head vehemently. "It's nothing like that! We're just friends, really! She already likes someone!"
She seemed disheartened by your answer, going away while mumbling something about... changing details on her fanfiction? Wait, what?