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Just Like A Cliche Novel

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“...and when their lips touched he felt the world around him fall away. It was as if everything in his life had existed just to lead him to this very moment. He laid his hands on her sides, gently, and it felt as though their very souls were merging.”

Isaiah typed furiously at his keyboard, biting his lip. Behind him, the sounds of someone obnoxiously singing and the smell of smoke was prominent. Alice was probably cooking again. He shook his head in irritation and went back to his work. If he finished this chapter tonight, he'd be on time for a publication in a month. Which is exactly what he said last month. And the month before. But he had high hopes this time. It had been a while since he was so far in the writing zone, and he felt an all nighter coming on. Bursts of creativity were rare, and he wanted to savour this one.

“Isaiah!” he flinched, not daring to look away from his screen. Pounding footsteps raced down the hallway as someone charged to his room. He typed faster, bracing himself for the excited shrieking that was about to ensue.

“Isaiah!” Alice cried as she threw the door open. He cried too, throwing his hands in the air. He never got anything done when she was in here.

“Isaiah-”

“Yes, yes dinners ready I KNOW.” he shrieked.

“What? No I burned dinner. Totally inedible.” she waited for a response, none came. “I was just wondering if you wanted to go out to eat?”

He sighed, “Aren't there pizza rolls in the freezer?”

“You've had pizza rolls three nights in a row.”

“Well maybe I'm not hungry.”

She rolled her eyes, “Come on, we've been cooped up in here for a week! I want to go somewhere.”

“Alice,” he said sharply, “I'm working.”

She scrunched her nose, “You have a job?”

He gestured angrily to the computer screen.

“Oh right. Those. Can't you take a break?”

He exhaled noisily. “Can't you just go out by yourself? Or, I don't know, go do your job?”

She groaned, trudging over to his chair and flopping onto him. “You never want to hang out. Can't you come with me just this once? Please?”

“You are a plague that kills the happiness of my soul.”

“I'm not hearing a no.”

He gave one last annoyed noise in his throat before pushing Alice away from him and standing. He threw on his jacket, grabbed his sunglasses, and left the room without waiting for her to follow. She did though, squealing with delight and rushing out the front door ahead of him.

She breathed in deeply and spun in a circle. “Isn't it beautiful out here?”

“Mhm.”

She squinted at him, “Why are you wearing sunglasses?”

“Why are you wearing sunglasses?”

“We look shady.” she giggled

He sniffed, “Hard to look shady when you're wearing pink.”

“It's shady pink.”

“Actually I think it's more of a fuscia.”

She laughed. An actual, outright laugh.
“Sometimes I forget how funny you are.”

“Too bad my humour is lost on the lesser of the public.”

They continued like that for a while, cracking small little jibes at each other and then letting the silence fill in the rest until they stumbled upon some little pizza shop on the corner, reminding them why they were out here in the first place.

Alice agreed to go in and pay as Isaiah wandered outside. There was a courtyard across the street, really just a big square in the middle of the skyscrapers with a fountain. A few pigeons milled about on the edge of the road and a group of college students were doing something in the corner. It looked like a dance routine.

He scuffed his shoes on the ground, walking in a weird zig zag pattern and expecting random pebbles and garbage cans to look like he was doing something. It had been a while since he and Alice had hung out. Sure, they lived together, but it was like a sibling relationship where they ignored each other’s presence half of the time and only came out of their rooms to ask about food. She was quite the nuisance, just like a sister, but he had to admit she was pretty tolerable. Sometimes.

“Nice place, very peaceful.”

Isaiah yelped as Alice came up behind him. “Jesus, that was fast.”

She shook her head and showed him her empty hands.

He rolled his eyes, “You didn't bring money?”

“Hey, you didn't either.”

“You invited me. I expected you to pay.”

“You're so high maintenance.”

He made a noise of frustration and sat on the fountain's edge. Alice kicked her shoes off, sitting next to him and sliding her feet into the water.

“Are you mad? Because I'm not mad. I had a lot of fun tonight.”

He shrugged, “Why should I be mad? It's not my fault you're a bloody idiot.”

“I don't think that's how you use the word bloody.”

He smiled and gave her a little shove. “Shut up.”

“You shut up.” She kicked her leg up, splashing water onto his sleeve.

He gasped in mock offense, “You did not!”

She smirked, raising an eyebrow. “Um, I think I did.”

He rolled his jacket sleeves up, planning to scoop an entire wave onto her, but she was too quick. All he did was succeed in making a puddle. She laughed at him, sticking her tongue out and running to the other end of the square as he leapt up in pursuit. They ran in circles for a while, kicking rocks at each other and repeatedly passing the teenage dance group.

“You run like a two year old!” he yelled after her.

“Sometimes your chin looks like a butt!” she yelled back.

“Your low brow humour doesn’t even make sense in this context!”

Alice turned to say something else, not seeing the fire hydrant she inevitably tripped over. She gave a shriek of surprise, falling flat on her face and skidding a little. Isaiah stopped in his tracks, grimacing. She had probably scraped her face. “Are you okay?” he called.

“Alice?”

She pushed herself up onto shaky arms and crawled over to the lip of the fountain. Her shoulders twitched a little, like she was crying. Isaiah bounced nervously on the balls of his feet for a second before running over to her.

“Shit, Alice are you okay?” he touched her arm gingerly, and she looked up at him. Her face was bleeding a little, but wasn’t too bad. Until it twisted into a sickening grin of satisfaction.

“I am now.”

In the span of two seconds she had grabbed the front of his jacket, flipping him over herself and into the fountain, immersing him completely. He choked, swallowing water instead of air as he tried to cry out in surprise. He felt her grip loosening and immediately latched onto her wrists, dragging her in afterward. He came up sputtering, shaking the water from his eyes. Alice was next to him, her legs still dangling out over the side but her torso and head completely soaked. She flipped her thick mass of wet hair away from her face, gasping and sending a spray of water at him.

He shoved her shoulder, “You ass, did you fall on purpose?”

She spit water at him, grinning. “No, I really fell. I just saw it as a marvelous advantage to trick you.” She smiled, “Hehe. Asslice.”

He coughed again, “What?”

“You called me an ass, now my name is Asslice.”

He made a face, “Sounds like ass lice.”

“Gross!”

“You started it! You must a have a pretty hairy butt to get lice in it.”

“Ugh that’s disgusting!”

“Two can play at crude humour Asslice!”

They laughed so hard Alice snorted in water and started choking and Isaiah cracked his head against the stone fountain on accident. Alice, crawled out onto the dry ground, her chest shuddering in silent laughter while he held his head, tears in his eyes. Every time they made eye contact they fell into another fit of giggles, going on with lewd jokes about butt scratching and how the lice would feel if you farted.

“Okay stop, stop my sides hurt and I'm actually crying.” he looked around in the water for his sunglasses.

Alice just wheezed. Her hair was still wet and parts of it were plastered to her face, which was bright red. She finally started to calm down a little, but she was still grinning like an idiot. It was actually kind of cute.

“Isaiah,” she said, breathless, “that is the funniest thing I have ever heard.

They tried to laugh again, but it hurt too much. They sat instead in a comfortable silence, breathing heavily. Isaiah could’ve sworn he’d seen this kind of thing in a movie once.

Without thinking, he leaned in to kiss her.

And missed.

Her eyes widened as his lips pressed awkwardly to the tip of her nose.

“What… are you doing.”

His mind snapped awake as he realized too late the horrible crime he’d committed. He felt his face heat up, and slowly pulled away. His mouth made a weird popping sound as it came off her face and they both cringed.

“I uh… I just-”

Alice stared at the area above his head, refusing to make eye contact.

She sucked in a breath, “Never-”

“Speak of this?” he finished quickly.

“Again.”

“Agreed.”

They awkwardly stood up in their wet clothes, now uncomfortably clingy, and started the trek home. Pigeons pecked curiously at the footprints they left in their wake along with the huge puddle of water, the only evidence of what had been of their night out.