“Okay, okay.. I can do this. Just get it over with already, and stop being so weird about it.”
Xani’s thumb hovers over the send button on her phone, but instead of hitting send, she once again starts reading over the text she still hasn’t managed to send even though she’s been rewriting and staring at it for a good fourty minutes now.
Why am I being so weird about this?! Out of all people, it’s just Clive! The one who doesn’t care if he spams me with a bunch of text messages that make him look like a weirdo! Well, I guess it’s more like the one who used to..
“Ugh, forget it!” She tosses her phone somewhere on her bed and faceplants into her pillow. Somewhat childishly, she kicks her legs back and forth and smushes the pillow closer to her face.
Why did he have to make things weird?! I know making things weird is his thing, but isn’t this just too ridiculous? I thought we’d grown to be pretty close friends, but I guess I thought wrong. How could he not message me after that? But.. I guess I haven’t tried very hard either..
Xani goes limp on the bed after that internal debate and hopes that she can just go to sleep so that she won’t have to think about all of this anymore.
I really do… miss him though.
She feels herself beginning to doze off when she hears her text message tone. She lets out a small sigh but sits up anyway. It’s most likely Shannon, and she doesn’t want to ignore her because she knows how she can get worried when she doesn’t respond sometimes. She looks around for a phone, unsure of exactly where it went when she tossed it earlier, and finds it facedown near the edge of her bed.
Good thing it didn’t fa-
Her train of thought slams to a halt when she sees the name on the lockscreen of her phone. Clive. And he seems to be responding to the text message she thought she didn’t send.
Her phone goes flying onto her bed once again but with more force this time. Okay. So. During the whole rewriting and staring process she.. She might have gotten a little caught up in her emotions and been a little too. Emotional? Mushy? Embarrassingly vulnerable? In that final draft? Just maybe though.
This is fine. This is fine. I need to get this over with anyway. I just need to stay calm. It’ll be fine. It’s Clive… But that’s just it, isn’t it? It’s because he’s Clive.
Back when Clive confessed his feelings for her, she turned him down, saying she couldn’t see him as more than a friend. And that had been the truth, or, at least, she thought it had been.
Things were just beginning to settle down back then, and I don’t think I was able to properly process my emotions just yet. Especially my emotions towards Clive.
He had been a suspicious person who turned out to be oddly connected to Kay and Jasper, two people in her life who had deeply impacted her in wildly different ways. Clive had been someone she had been right to suspect from the very start. But he was also someone who had a kind heart. Someone whose awkwardness had started to become strangely endearing to her. Someone who had protected her, cared for her, and.. loved her. How could she not grow to love him too?
That’s why the current situation felt so frustrating. Why did he get so upset at her when she decided to give Jasper a chance? She knows that Shannon told her that he was just jealous, and she had been leaning towards that conclusion too, but it just didn’t make sense. Why would she be interested in Jasper?! It’s not like she agreed to date him or anything absolutely insane like that. Why would Clive automatically arrive to the conclusion that she’d fall head over heels for Jasper or something along those lines?
Even now, she still wonders if she made the right decision by letting Jasper into her life. He acts like a decent human being now, sure, (And, okay, he is handsome. She can admit that. Begrudgingly.) but growing to trust someone who had, y’know, stabbed you in the stomach isn’t exactly an easy feat. And growing to love that kind of person? Completely out of the cards.
Suddenly, her phone goes off again, interrupting her frantic thoughts.
I can’t keep avoiding this.
And so, she steels herself and picks her phone back up to see that the new message on her lockscreen simply says, “um xani?”
She takes a deep breath and unlocks her phone. Before she can get a good look at the first message Clive had sent her in response, she quickly scrolls back up to read back over what she had mistakenly sent.
“Clive, do you even want to be friends anymore? It’s been a month since we last talked, and I don’t know what to think. I don’t understand why I have to be the first to contact you when I don’t think I did anything wrong. Can you please just say something? I.. miss you, idiot.”
Xani feels her face heat up at the last part of the message, but, still determined to just get this all over with, she scrolls down and reads Clive’s response.
“um. ur right. u didn’t do anything wrong. i’m srry that u had to mssg me first. do u think we could meet up and talk? it’s fine if u don’t want to! but. yeah.”
She feels a fond smile tugging at her lips despite herself.
Seriously? Even in a serious conversation like this, he’s still going to text like that? But wait—isn’t he in Pirathon right now?
“Meeting up is fine but aren’t you in Pirathon?”
Clive responds quickly, “oh um i’m in the city rn actually. tbh i came bc i wanted to talk to u but i wasn’t sure if i should. so if it’s ok with u could i come over to ur house?”
He’d.. already been planning to try to talk to her? Huh. The idea of meeting up makes her feel a bit nervous but she guesses it’ll be better to talk that way. Plus, she has missed seeing him..
“Oh. Well, that’s convenient then. And Sure, that’s fine. I’m already home so come whenver you want.”
He’s a bit slower to respond this time, and Xani feels herself growing slightly impatient as she stares at the little dots flickering in the corner of the screen. Finally, he replies with, “i’ll head over now!! and xani um… i missed u too. srry again.”
Ugh, I thought he was just going to ignore that part, but.. I guess I’m also a little glad that he didn’t.
She paces her room a bit as she waits for him to arrive, stopping every so often to look in the mirror and lightly comb her hands through her hair or to adjust her clothes. She also decides to make up her bed and tidy up her room a little in that time. She’s putting some wrappers she found laying around on the floor in the trash can when she hears a knock on the front door.
She feels her heart jump in her chest at the sound but finds herself quickly making her way over to the door to let him in. True to character, he stands there looking like he’s about to turn around and flee when she opens it. They both stare at each other awkwardly for a few seconds before Clive, surprisingly, speaks up first, “Um, hey.. Is Gray here too?”
“No, he’s.. out with Dexter right now. He probably won’t be back until later tonight.”
“Uh, cool,” he pauses, rubbing his neck, “Soo..?”
“Right, let’s um, go to my room. In case Dad gets back early or something.” Clive stiffly nods in response and follows.
Once they make it into her room, Clive doesn’t even give her the chance to turn around before he blurts out, “I’m r-really sorry! You didn’t deserve any of that, and I know I was being stupid by not saying anything for so long, but I was just scared that you hated me or something, and I was embarrassed that I got so upset at you over something like that, and I’m just really sorry again, and I—“
“Clive! It’s okay! Just calm down, okay?” Xani responds, reaching out to touch one of his hands that had curled up into a fist during his outburt. He slightly flinches at her touch and opens his eyes to look down at her with a guilty expression.
“It’s true that it was stupid of you, but I don’t hate you. And I’m glad you apologized, but you don’t need to freak out and beat yourself up like that,” she sighs a little before continuing, “What I really want to talk about is why you got upset like that. We can’t move forward until we talk this out properly.”
Clive’s clenched fist begins to loosen and he nods, “Ugh, y-yeah, I know. Sorry.” He hangs his head and moves to sit on the chair next to the desk; Xani follows and takes a seat on the edge of the bed. Silence hangs in the room for a moment before Clive begins, “I-I guess I was just feeling.. insecure. Jasper, he.. despite everything, he has a lot of things that I just. Don’t.”
He stops to rub at his face with a mixture of frustration and embarrassment, “And I know it’s stupid and doesn’t excuse anything, but it’s how I felt. It’s not like I think you owe me anything, n-nor do I expect anything after.. You know. That,” he looks up at Xani with ashamed expression before hanging his head again, “I really would like us to keep being friends if you’re okay with it, and if you aren’t—uncomfortable. I really am sorry.”
Xani feels her chest ache as he hunches in on himself. So, he really was feeling jealous. If it really is like that then, she should just tell him how she feels. There’s no point in holding back now that they’re having an open, honest discussion, and now that she’s fully come to terms with her feelings.
“Clive. I like you—as more than a friend.”
She hears Clive let out a small gasp before he jumps out of the chair, making it fall to the ground and causing her to jump as well, “W-What?! B-But! How?!” His face slowly begins growing red, and he stares at her with an extremely bewildered expression.
“Well, I- Oh my gosh! Calm down!”
“How am I supposed to calm down?! You just told me you l-l-liked me! I thought—You really like me?! What?!”
“Oh my god! Why don’t you shout that a little a louder, Clive?! With how loud you’re yelling, Shannon probably heard and is now on her way to congratulate us!” Xani knows her face is bright red now, too, and why wouldn’t it be when Clive just shouted out her feelings loud enough to the point that she was sure everyone in the surrounding area could hear?!
Of course that’s the only thing he heard.
“Ugh, yes, I like you! I really like you! I know I turned you down before, but I just needed time to process my feelings. Everything had been so crazy, and you confessed, and I just didn’t know how I really felt at the moment— But I like you, I really do.. okay?”
Clive had somehow managed to calm himself down a little while listening to what she had to say but was still clearly very flustered. His mouth opened and closed for a little bit before he let out a squeaky, “Okay..”
“Pfft..” Xani couldn’t help but let out a laugh at that response.
Clive pipes up indignantly, “H-Hey! Don’t laugh!” He kept an annoyed expression for as long as he could, but he couldn’t help but break into laughter himself. Xani looked at him fondly as they laughed together, charmed.
I’m glad I got to see his smile again.
Once they calm down, they sit next to each other on the bed. “S-So,” Clive mumbles, “What do you even like about me anyways?”
”Fishing for compliments, huh?”
”N-No! I.. I just want to know. Ugh, if you don’t want to tell me, you don’t have to!” Or so he says but his lips are downturned into a small pout.
Xani chuckles, “I was just joking. Geez, it’s so easy to get you worked up,” Clive looks like he’s about to protest but she continues anyway, a somewhat bashful look beginning to appear on her face, “Despite what you may think, I think you have a lot of good qualities. You’re admirably passionate about the things you like, and you’re a really caring person. And—hey, don’t give me that look. You’ve protected me so many times now, how can you say that you’re not a caring person?”
”Yeah, but it was from trouble I was partly responsible for.”
”Clive. Jasper manipulated you. He drugged you. Maybe you’re not absolved of all responsibility, but, at the same time, you’ve clearly shown what kind of person you really are time and time again. And that person—,” a shy smile appears on her face, “Is a person that I really like. Someone who is sincere, earnest, and kind.”
Clive turns his head and puts his arm over his face, seemingly in an attempt to hide his blushing face. But wait, huh? Is he.. sniffling?
”Clive? Are you crying?”
This time, he turns his whole body to the side, “No! No.. It’s j-just allergies!” A terrible excuse that would fool absolutely no one. His wavering voice didn’t help his case either.
”Clive, look at me.” He simply shakes his head in response. Xani sighs and move to stand in front of him. He tries to turn again, but, this time, she gently takes his face in her hands.
”W-What are you?!”
She gives him an affectionate smile in response, wiping his tears with her thumbs. She then moves closer and gives him a quick kiss on the cheek despite the embarrassment she feels begin building inside of her.
Clive looks like he’s either about to pass out or start yelling again, and Xani prepares herself in advance.
Yeah, so stupid but so endearing.