Round 28 – Matters Of The Hearts
Nicholas smiled to himself as he watched Hebe close her eyes, and make a wish on the purple sea shell she have just found. He found himself mesmerized by her. Hebe is not like any other girl he have met before, she has the brightest eyes he have ever seen that sparkles each time that she smiles, she is shy, and the way she blushes could only compliment her rosy white cheeks, she is innocent and naïve, and she is such a dreamer, making him want to fulfill all the dreams she have. As he moved closer to her, he have this urge to kiss her cheek, but he was scared to startle her, and in the end she would distant herself from him. It's enough that she already thinks he is gay. He doesn't want to lose her just because he was taking advantage of her.
She opened her eyes, and she smiled as she looked up at Nicholas. “I think my wish will come true... my true love will come as long as I have this sea shell...” she said, showing Nicholas the shell in her hand. Nicholas smiled at her, and nodded his head. “You will.” he assured her. “I guess it is fate. You found your purple sea shell... and I... I guess I am the one fated for you...” he thought. “I'm so happy, Nic! I wish I will meet him soon...” Hebe said. “You have long met him... it's me...” he wanted to say. Hebe nodded her head. “I know it will be soon.” she said. “I just wish it's you...” she thought.
The first time they met, Hebe knew she have fallen for his charms. He have this boyish smile that could brighten up one's bad day. When she looks into his eyes, she always feels being lost in him. His voice is like music to her ears, and there's nothing she would want to do the whole day but hear him speak. He always looks after his friends, and he is always there for them. The only problem with him, she thought, is that he is gay, as far as she knows. “Too bad, he could be a perfect boyfriend...” she thought. “So, now that you found your purple sea shell, do you agree for me to be your fairy godmother?” she heard him ask.
Hebe flinched upon hearing that. Yes, they have a deal. Nicholas helped her find that sea shell, and it's only right to keep her part of the bargain. “Do you really have to?” he asked. Nicholas nodded his head. “You are Cinderella, remember?”
“Ella should be the Cinderella.”
“No way. She is... more like... Katherina of Taming of the Shrew.”
Hebe could only laugh at what he said. Another thing she love about him is that he is smart. He isn't unlike any guys she have met. He have the brains, and you can talk to him about anything under the sun. “Katherina? You mean to say, she is a shrew?” she asked. “And guess who Petruchio can be.” he said, winking at her. “Well, if you insist to be my fairy godmother... or godfather. Whatever. You got it.” she said.
And so, vacation is over. And everyone is back to their normal lives. I suppose.
“I've got a date today. I'll be coming home late, so don't wait for me.” Selina announced as she went down the stairs. Hebe and Ella just looked at each other after hearing what Selina said. “Again?” Ella asked. Selina smiled at her cousin, and nodded her head. “Alex said we'll go to this new bar after we go to the amusement park.” she said. Ella could only sigh in dismay. Seems to her, Selina changes her boyfriend as fast as she could change her clothes. “And Alex is...”
“A new guy I met at the beach.”
“And you are going out with him because...”
“He seems interesting.
Ella let out a sigh. “Sel, you've been giving us the same excuse since you started dating guys. Do you have plans to settle down with just one guy?” Hebe asked. “Hebe, my dear, you know what my motto is. Collect and collect, then select. There are a lot of hot guys out there.” she said. “And you have to 'taste' all of them before you can settle down with the one you really like?” Ella asked in a sarcastic tone. Selina let out a mocking smile at her cousin. There is no way she is going to let her cousin ruin her night just because of her tone. “You're just jealous. Because you and Sphinx -”
“What about Sphinx?” Groovy grandpa asked as he walked on them. Selina kept quiet, and Ella looked away from Selina. Groovy grandpa looked at the three girls who became quiet. “Why isn't anyone of you answering my question? What about Sphinx?” he asked again. Selina sighed, and then let out a smile. “I was telling Ella that maybe she should call Sphinx. You know, seems like Ella is missing him...” she said. Groovy grandpa just smiled at her. “But Chun is there to take her mind off her best friend. Ellie, dear, I know wherever Sphinx is, he is in good hands. Stop worrying about him, and take care of your boyfriend.” he said. Ella let out a faint smile, and nodded her head. Then, they heard groovy grandpa let out a yawn. “I'm sleepy. Selina, are you going out?” he asked. Selina nodded her head. “On a date.” she said. “Take care, all right? Don't stay out too long.” he said. Then, he went up to his room to rest.
Ella leaned back on her seat, and just looked at Selina. “I'm sorry, Ellie... I didn't mean to open up the thing about Sphinx...” Selina said. She smiled at her, and nodded her head. “It's OK. I provoked you. Take care of yourself, all right?” she said. With that, Selina left their apartment. “Missing Sphinx?” Hebe asked. “I don't know, Hebe... When Selina mentioned his name, I started to miss him...” she answered. “Everyone is mentioning his name. The only thing is, you're not that affected since you are always with Chun.” Hebe said. With that, Ella gave her a confused look. “What do you mean?” she asked. “Simple. Because Chun is there by your side, you don't seem to miss him no matter how many times we say Sphinx's name. But now that Chun is not with you, you are starting to think of him again. Seems like when you're around Chun, you tend to forget him.” Hebe said. Ella gave her an are-you-kidding-me look, and just shook her head. “You're trying to tell me something... I could feel that. So before you could get there, end of conversation.” she said. Hebe laughed at her friend. “I suppose I am trying to tell you something. About Chun.” Hebe said.
Ella let out a sigh, and leaned back on her seat. “Well... Chun is... you know... he is someone I have relied on since Sphinx left me. He was there to comfort me. He saw me at my weakest. He was there to snap me back to reality, to make me realize what I am doing is wrong. Although he knows what I am doing is wrong, he is there to support me. He's one person I hate, and yet I know life wouldn't be much exciting without even knowing him.” she said. “Funny... I am not asking you what you think about Chun, and yet you tell me those things.” Hebe said. Ella looked at her friend, and smiled at her. “I guess when you blabber much about that one person without anyone asking you what you think of him, it means you truly love that person.” Hebe added. Ella let out another sigh. She stretched out her arms, and put her hands at the back of her head. “In love?” she asked.
She know she is being too obvious. She knows that in a moment, Hebe will ask her what she really feels about him. The past few months when they were pretending to be together, she found herself slowly falling in love with Chun. Sometimes, she cant figure out for herself if she is just merely pretending, or she is really showing how she felt towards Chun. And Chun's action towards her somewhat confuses her as well. He is the sweetest guy he knows. He is much sweeter towards her in front of their grandparents, but when it's just them together, there are times she thought that he is acting for real. The way he smiles at her, the way he looks at her, all of these confuses her. And it only makes her even more in love with him. “Ellie, tell me the truth, all right? What do you really feel about Chun?” she heard Hebe asked.
That was it – the question she is anticipating. She have the answer, and yet, she couldn't bring herself to tell it to Hebe. She is in love with Chun, all right, but how will she explain her feelings? They hated each other to bits before, and only became friends when Bianca and Sphinx got together. “How do I feel about him?” she asked again, hoping to stall Hebe. Hebe nodded her head. “Are you in love with Chun?” she asked. She let out another sigh. “I guess...” she answered. It was the safest answer she could give. She can't tell Hebe that she is madly in love with the guy. “You guess?” Hebe asked again. “There are things about him that I failed to notice before. There are things about him that... that I haven't found in Sphinx. I don't know... maybe I'm getting affected because of this little act we're pulling.”
“Then, are you still in love with Sphnx?”
“I have long accepted the fact that Sphinx and I can only be friends.”
“And you've accepted the face since Chun came into your life and took his place?”
Ella looked at Hebe, and stared at her for a long time. There's no way she can fool Hebe, for she is a smart girl. More smarter than she is. “Yes.” she answered truthfully. “Then, it means that you have fallen in love with Chun. Why can't you admit it?” Hebe said. “Would you admit to Nic that you like him, although you know that he and Arron might have a thing?”
“Let's not talk about me and Nic. This is all about you and your feelings, Ella.”
“Do you think whatever it is that I'm feeling for Chun, it will only complicate everything?”
“Why should it complicate everything?”
“Because we are just pretending.”
“Right from the start, you have been betrothed to him, Ella.”
“I know that, but we're not really together. And besides, there's Bianca...”
“Will Bianca always be the shadow in your relationship?”
“He loves Bianca. I know that. And what relationship? The only relationship we have is a make believe one.”
“Did he ever said to you that he is still in love with Bianca?”
Ella paused, and stared at her again. “Have he ever mentioned that he is still in love with Bianca? During the times that you two are together, did he ever mentioned Bianca to you?” Hebe asked. “We talk about them once in a while. And besides, comparing myself to her, I know I don't stand a chance. Look at her, she's pretty, tall, sexy... while I'm chubby. I can't be Chun's type at all!” she said. “You know what, that's you're problem! You've been insecure all your life! That is the very reason why you can't tell Sphinx what you feel for him before, and now, it's what's getting in your way to be with Chun!” Hebe said. “Who said I want to be with Chun?”
“How could you know?”
“Look, Ella. I've been a romance novelist for a long time. Not only that, I am a hopeless romantic. I takes me just one glance to see how much a person loves that person she is looking at. And basing at the way you look at him, it's so obvious that you are in love with Chun.”
“I've made a mistake before, all right? I fell for my best friend, and thought I could be together with him. I love Chun, all right? But I don't want to make the same mistake that I did before. If he can't love me, then I just have to accept that.”
“But what if he is in love with you all this time?”
Ella looked away from her friend. “Chun? In love with me? No way...” she said. “If you give me that reason that you're not pretty enough for him, then I'm gonna strangle you.” Hebe said. With that, Ella let out a laugh. “Then you can go ahead and strangle me, Hebe.” she said. Hebe smiled at her. Then, she held her hand. “You always tell your listeners that someone will love them for who they are. You should believe in what you are saying. Someday, you will find someone who will love despite all your flaws. And for his eyes, you will be the most beautiful thing he'll ever see in this world.” she said. “Do you think Chun will?” she asked. Hebe nodded her head. “He is blind if he isn't.” she said. Ella smiled back at her friend. “And Nic is also blind if he doesn't see how beautiful you are inside and out. So, have you done the gay test?” Ella asked. With that, Hebe let out a sigh. “I don't have to give him the gay test. I know he is one.” she said in dismay.
Arron and Jae Joong let out a smile at Nicholas. And at the count of 3, took the dress they have made. “Voila! What do you think, Nicky?” Arron asked. Nicholas looked at the green tube dress they are holding, and scratched his chin. “First of all, why does it have to be that sexy?” Nicholas asked. Arron let out a sigh at him. “Oh come on, Nicky! Hebe is so ever conservative. Let her show some skin!” he said. “What if other guys are staring at her? I don't want other guys staring at her.” he said. “Why are you so selfish? Hebe is a pretty girl. Once she've gone through that make over we're planning for her, all guys will be after her.” Jae Joong said. Then, Nicholas shook his head. “I don't think that's a good idea.” he said.
Arron rolled his eyes at him. “Fine! I'll do another dress for you. So demanding!” he said. Then, he turned his back on him and retreated back to the table to make another design for Hebe. Meanwhile, Chun, who was sitting on the couch and listening to Nicholas ans Arron's conversation, couldn't help but laugh at his brother. Now, he truly knows that Nicholas is in love. Good thing his step dad has decided to threw him in Taipei for his further studies, for meeting Hebe means ending his playboy ways. His reaction somewhat reminded him of his reaction when he saw Ella in bikini. He is being protective of her because he doesn't want other guys lusting after his girl. Nicholas went up to him, and sat beside him on the couch. “You know, if you keep on asking them to redo Hebe's dress on the big day, you'll have to postpone it for another day or so.” Chun told him. “No way! I've been suffering for a long time. I want this big day to come soon.”
“Then go with the dress they made for her, all right?”
“Why are you being too stubborn?”
“What if other guys look at her the way I look at her? I can't let that happen!”
“You're too paranoid. And it's just the two of you that day, all right?”
Nicholas sighed, and folded his arms. “I thought you want Hebe to have this make over so that she would have confidence in herself... Arron and Jae Joong are professional stylists, all right? Let them do their work.” Chun said. “It's just that... I don't want some guys stare at my girl, OK?” he said. Chun let out a chuckle, and shook his head. “Hebe is not yet your girl till that big day comes.” Chun said. “Oh, but she will.” Nicholas said proudly. “At least she will be my girl. For real...” he added, giving Chun a meaningful look. Chun could only glare at his stepbrother. “Don't start, all right?” he said. “OK. If you say so.” Nicholas said.
Just then, Arron came and approached Nicholas. “What if we just add a shawl for her? The dress is really perfect for her, Nicky. Let's not put that dress to waste.” he suggested. “Shawl will be fine.” he said. With that, Arron let out a smile. “Finally! You agreed to something! Then I shall make a shawl now!” he said. He hopped happily back to his working table and began to work on the shawl for Hebe's dress. Shortly after, Jae Joong joined the two brothers. “So, the big day is coming soon, huh?” he asked. Nicholas smiled at him, and nodded his head. Jae Joong could only shake his head. “All the trouble to transfer that nerd into a beautiful princess...” he muttered. “Hebe is beautiful.” he said. He folded his arms, and pouted at Nicholas. “What is it with that girl that made you like her? I am way prettier and hotter than her!” he said in a hurt tone. Chun and Nicholas could only laugh at Jae Joong's reaction. “First, it's because I am not gay.” Nicholas said. “Well, Arron thought you were one of us when you first came here...”
“I may look effeminate, but I am not.”
“Aren't you a little scared since Hebe might think you are gay, since you hang out with us?”
Nicholas just shook his head. “Let her think that way. For now. At least it won't be obvious that I do like her.” he said. “Ha! If she only know. When you look at her, it's as if you want to devour her!” Jae Joong said. “I think when Nic looks at her, he just couldn't talk and think straight.” Chun teased. Jae Joong nodded his head in agreement. “And, not only that. Have you seen the way he smiles when Hebe looks his way. His grinning from ear to ear. You're like a school girl. Yuck! So gay!” Jae Joong teased. Nicholas just let the two laugh at him as they talk how he looked like whenever Hebe is around him. He couldn't tell them off, for it's all true. He have dated a lot of girls back then, and no one made him feel this way than Hebe. “What is it about that girl that you liked anyway?” Jae Joong asked. Nicholas took a deep breath, and then smiled. As Chun looked at his brother, he could see his eyes sparkle as he think about Hebe. “He sure is in love...” he thought.
“Hebe has the most beautiful pair of eyes I have ever seen.” Nicholas said. “Psssh! I have more prettier eyes than her.” Jae Joong said, rolling his eyes at him. “When you look into those big black orbs, I feel like I'm being drifted away into another dimension. I don't know... It's just that her eyes are filled with so much emotion. You can tell that she is happy or sad or angry or confused by merely looking into her eyes. I like how she can be innocent at times. I like the way she looked when she's all confused with all that's happening around her. I like how she smiles dreamily. I like how she would search far and wide for an impossible thing, and how her face lightens up when she finally found it. I like the way she closes her eyes and makes a wish, and then she would smile, making me think what it is that she prayed for. I like it when she is such a snoop, just because she wants to find out the truth. I like how she can be insecure at herself, and yet proud at what she did all at the same time. I like how smart she is, and yet how naive she is at the same time. I don't know... there are a lot of things that I do like about her. But this one thing, I know I'm sure of. I love her on the very first time I saw her... when she she fell into my arms and when I looked into her eyes, I knew right then that she will the last love of my life... the one I want to be with forever.”
As Nicholas looked at Jae Joong, he could see him in tears, and he was sniffing. “That... that was like the sweetest thing I've ever heard in my entire existence here on earth!” he exclaimed. Chun simply smiled at his step brother. “Well... that's new. When I used to ask you why you like the girl you're dating, you just saying your generic answer that she's hot. At least you matured now, and it proves that you really are in love now.” he said. Nicholas just nodded his head. Just then, Chun paused and realized the last sentence Nicholas said. “Wait. Last girl... you mean to say...” Chun gave him a suspicious look. “That if this didn't work out, I'll turn gay? No way!” he said. Chun laughed at him. “You sure are serious about her, Nic.” Chun said. “I'll do anything to gain her love. I promise to myself that once I have her, I will never let her go. I won't do the same mistake I did before with my previous girlfriends. I promise to be faithful and loving boyfriend for her.” he said. “Lucky you. Did you know that Hebe have never been in love before? She never had a boyfriend. Oh, what a lucky girl... she is your last love, and you are her first love...” Jae Joong said dreamily.
Nicholas could only smile to himself. That big day is coming soon, and he is very excited about it. He hopes that on that special day, he would be able to make Hebe happy, and that she will be his forever, for he have always been hers since that first meeting.
“Fairy godmother? Are you kidding me?” Ella exclaimed. Hebe nodded her head. “I was hoping he would tell me that he is my prince charming. But he said he wants to be my fairy godmother instead.” she said. Ella sighed, as she was confused with Hebe's situation. When she first met Nicholas, her impression of him is that of a playboy, just like Ethan. But then, seeing Nicholas around Hebe, she could tell that he was smitten by Hebe's charms. And now, Hebe is telling her that Nicholas is really gay. “And I remember, Chun told me that his dad threw Nicholas here in Taipei to run the family business or something. What if, their dad found out that he is gay. Maybe their dad found out that Nicholas is having an affair with another guy, and then he was furious and was thrown here in Taipei for an exile.” Hebe said worriedly. “You and your wild imagination, Hebe! We are still not sure if he is gay, just because he said he wants to be your fairy godmother. What if he just used an incorrect term?” Ella said. Hebe could only shrug her shoulder. “I don't know. I just wish that he isn't really gay. But... I don't know... there are a lot of times that I've been seeing Nicholas around Arron's place.”
“When I follow him, I find that they are doing something... something immoral.”
“Immoral? What do you mean?”
“I saw Nicholas took off his jacket as soon as he came in.”
“It's only normal to take off your jacket, Hebe.”
“And then Arron laid down on the floor.”
“And then Nicholas laid on the floor as well.”
Ella was mortified at what Hebe is telling her. There are some perverted thoughts in her mind that she is imagining, that the writer of this story dares not to discuss for it is inappropriate to the younger people. “Owwkeyyy...” Ella said. “And one time I heard Arron moaning...” Hebe said. Ella could see her friend was about to cry with what she saw previously. “OK, let's stop this, OK? I know it's breaking your heart to know that the apple of your eye is gay. I know I would feel the same way if Chun is, but thank God he isn't.” Ella said. “So, that's the reason why the last time we went to the beach, I did my best to find the purple sea shell. I wished for him to be my true love. I just wish that he isn't really gay...”
Hebe buried her face on her palm as she cried. Ella went up to her, and comfort her. “Hey... don't cry. If he is gay, then you should accept it. If you really love him, you have to prove to him that he should not be gay because someone is loving him, and that is you. Don't give up now, Hebe. Didn't you found the purple sea shell?” Ella said. Hebe looked up at her, and nodded her head. “See? It means that your wish will come true. Nicholas will love you, Hebe. Maybe if the two of you get close, maybe you can still change his mind.” Ella said. Hebe lowered her head as Ella speaks. “I don't know, Ella. I've imagined the first time I'm going to be in love would be like those romance novels that I used to read... but I was wrong...” she said in a soft voice. Ella lifted up her face, and smiled at her. “Not all romantic stories happen in real life. If they do, then all of us should have a happy ending, right? Your love story may have not started as grand as those stories in the novel, but it's still your own story. It will have a different plot and different characters, and you'll have to do what you need to do to deserve that happy ending that you have always wanted.” she said. With that, Hebe let out a smile. “How can you say the right things at the right time?” she asked. “Of course, it's my job, silly! So, don't ever give up on Nic, all right?” Ella said. Hebe smiled, and nodded her head.
A week later...
Chun barged inside Ella's house that Saturday morning. “Good morning guys!” he said cheerfully. Ella and Groovy grandpa looked up at him, and the latter smiled at the young man. “Good morning, Chun. Come, join us for breakfast.” he said. Chun smiled at the elder man, and nodded his head. He took the seat beside Ella, and took some food onto his plate. “What brought you here early, Chun? Do you and Ella have plans for today?” groovy grandpa asked. Chun shook his head. “I came to seek Ella's help for today. I had a special order for a cake today, and Ethan is not around, so... I was hoping if she could help me out...” he said. He turned to Ella and gave her puppy eyes. “Of course, I would help you out, honey, don't worry.” she said. Chun smiled at her, and then began to eat.
Selina, on the other hand, gave Chun a confused look. “Ethan is not around? Where the hell is he?” she asked in a somewhat angry tone. “Oh, he said he'll be meeting an old friend today.” Chun said. “And this old friend is a guy or a girl?” she asked again. Chun just shrugged his shoulder. “Maybe it's a girl.” he said. Selina could feel all of her blood rushing up to her head upon hearing what Chun said. “And just when I was about to give him a chance to prove his love for me!” she thought angrily. Groovy grandpa and Ella noticed the change in Selina's expression. “Anything wrong, Sel?” she asked. Selina shook her head, and then stood up from her seat. “I'm going out today. I'll be late. Don't wait for me.” she sad. “I thought you don't have a date today?” Ella said. “I changed my mind. I'm going out on a date with Jasper today!” she shouted. Then, she took her bag, and went out of the house.
All of them got confused with Selina's expression. “What is wrong with that girl?” groovy grandpa asked as he shook his head. “I think it's one of those days...” Chun said. Then, Chun turned to Ella. “Ella, baobei, can you accompany me to the grocery? I need to buy some ingredients for the cake...” he said. Ella smiled at him, and nodded her head. “OK.” she said.
Hebe rushed down the stairs as she heard the loud knock on the door. “Coming!” Hebe said. She opened the door, and saw Nicholas standing before her, smiling. Suddenly, she felt her heart began to beat fast again. “Oh... h-h-hi Nic... what b-b-brought you h-h-here?” she stuttered. “Didn't we have an agreement that I will be your fairy godmother?” Nicholas said. Hebe nodded her head. “Well, today is the day that I will be your fairy godmother.” he said. Hebe was surprised at what he said. Before she could further react, Nicholas pulled her out of the house.
“Chun, I have something to ask to you...” Ella said as they were walking towards the supermarket. Chun paused, and looked at her. “What is it?” he asked. “I want to know, is Nic gay?” she asked. He just smiled at her. He knows that Ella and Hebe have been talking about Nic being gay, as expected. “Why do you want to know?” he asked. “I'm just curious. You see, Hebe have this crazy thought...” Ella said. Chun gave her a confused look. “Hebe?” he asked. Ella nodded her head. “She thought that the reason why Nic was sent here in Taipei is because your step dad found out that he is gay. So, I'm wondering if that is true...” she said. Chun just gave her an evil smile, and didn't answer her question. “Wei! Answer me!” Ella insisted. “So what if my brother is gay?”
“I want to know.”
“What is it to you, if you found Nic is gay. Are you going to die?”
“I am not, OK? But I know someone who will.”
Chun gave her another confused look. “Who?” she asked. “Tell me first... Is Nic gay, or not?” she asked. “Answer me. Who will die if Nic is gay?” Chun said. “Why should I tell you? You're not answering my question.” Ella said. “I won't tell you.” he said. Ella just let out a sigh. There's no way she could squeeze the answer from Chun, that she knows. “Nic was sent here in Taipei for his Masters degree. Aside from that, he is here to leave his old ways behind.” Chun said. “Old ways? So, it means Nic came here to Taiwan to become gay?” she asked. “I'm not telling.” Chun said. Ella simply shook her head. She could sense that Chun is hiding something from her, something that's about Nicholas. “OK, then may I ask. Are you gay?” she asked him. Chun glared at her. “Do you want me to kiss you to prove that I am not gay?” he snapped at her. With that, Ella could only bite her lips as she looked away. “If I say yes, will you kiss me?” she asked. Chun looked away from her, and smiled to himself. “I would, right now, if you want to.” he thought. Ella looked at him proudly. “Dare?” she said. “I don't have to prove to you anything. I am not gay. You should know that.” he said. Then, he went on his way, and went inside the supermarket, leaving Ella behind, furious at him. “That... that chicken face! Why don't you want to kiss me?!” she thought angrily. Meanwhile, Chun was smiling to himself. “I will kiss you again, Ella... but not today.” he thought.
Labels: fan fic, Me And The Boy Next Door