Chapter 1:

Want Me To Decide For You?


When Liz offered to let me live at her place for a while, my mind was not clear. I was so frustrated at that time that I accepted it. But later when I thought about it. That wasn't a good decision. I didn't want to bother her for my sake. All that said, now that I had accepted the plan, I couldn't say no to her. I knew she wouldn't listen, no matter what I said. But a part of me really did want to live with her. The stuff that had happened that night wasn't something I could forget so easily.
Liz had dropped me back to my house. I picked up my phone. Double tapping it produced the lock screen. It was 2:18 am Sunday.
Liz had asked me to meet her at 2:00 in the park to discuss things. Having nothing else to do I closed my eyes and layed down. No luck with sleep though.
I woke up late in the morning at 9 am to be accurate. Since it was sunday both my  mother & sister were going to be at home. Until afternoon at least. I didn't want to go in front of them. I stayed in my room & waited for them to leave. Suddenly my phone beeped.
''All good?"
It was Liz as expected.
"Yeah I am fine, did you reach home safely?"
"Yeah, have you talked to your mother yet?"
"Nope, not yet."
"Well that can wait I guess, alright see you in 2 hours."
"Yeah sure, I will be there."She was so nice. I was more than grateful to  her for being my friend as it was. But now she was helping me with things I didn't think I could ever do. I thought that's how it feels like to have friends by your side. A totally new experience for me.
It was 1:42 pm. I hadn't seen any of them leaving the house. It couldn't be helped. I changed my clothes and started climbing down. My sister was in her room so no worries, but my mother was in the living room. Which meant she would see me go. I walked past her in a straight line staring at the door with great interest.
Phew! at last, this feels more breathable.
When I reached the park, Liz was already there.
"What's up?"
"You know the stuff, I believe."
"That's just how we greet, isn't it?"
"Right, so should I say I am good?"
"No forget that, let's come back to the topic. Let's go to my place for that, that way you will be able to decide things better."
"Oh right, but why did you call me here then?"
"Do you know where I live?"
"Well that makes sense, I don't."
"Let's go then."
We rode the bicycle and started.
It didn't take more than 15 minutes to reach her apartment. It was a rather normal looking thing, nothing remarkable at all.
"It's on the second floor, let me park my bike first."
After she was done, we headed up, people who were in the way gave strange looks but we ignored them.
"It appears you stay aloof with your neighbours, nobody said anything, not even a hi."
"Yeah, I don't talk with anybody, where did I put the keys again, oh here."
She put the keys in the place, the room noumber was again coincidently No.13, talk about weird.
"Make yourself at home."
Inside too was totally normal. A bed, a table , a cupboard & and kitchen slab and other normal stuff.
"So what do you think?", she asked.
"It's good, spacious, tidy, lighting is good too."
"Let me get us something to drink first, sit anywhere you like."
I sat down on the bed. And my gaze started to wander. Another careful look and her room didn't look girly at all. No sweet colours or fluffy things or posters, or tons of clothes. Then again she herself isn't girly that much.
"Is cola alright? Nothing else in the fridge."
"Sure, anything is fine, don't bother with the formality."
"Here you go then."
She handed me an extremely chilled cola can. We both took sips and there was silence for a while.
"So, when do you plan on moving in?",
Her voice was so kind I nearly wanted to cry out loud. But I shouldn't drag her in my mess. I decided to turn her down.
"Actually, Now that I think about it with a calm mind. I rather not live with you."
"Did you make up with your family?"
Did I, no impossible, but she didn't need to know that.
"Yeah something like that."
"And you aren't lying?"
"Why would I..... Would I do that?"
"It's good then, you have a family you should treasure."
"You say as if you don't have one."
"I've but…. Ah, I'll tell you some other time."
"No, no need to tell me, who am I to even ask."
"My friend."
"Do friends get to pry in personal affairs too?"
"Sometimes, speaking of friends since we both don't have any other friends so that makes us best friends, yes?"
"Well technically,"
"So should you hide stuff with your best friend?."
"You shouldn't."
"Then I will ask again, did you make up with our family?"
Was my lie that obvious?
"Shouldn't best friends trust each other?"
"No matter what my best friend says, she can't make me believe that the sky is red."
"But it's red."
"Lol, anyway look I know you're lying, tell me what's the matter."
"Well, I changed my mind, I don't think it's the right thing to do."
"Any particular reason?"
"No. It just doesn't feel right."
"Well I can't exactly force you, do what you like."
"Thanks for understanding."
"Oh but our meeting became useless then, what should we do now?"
"Well it's Sunday and all.."
"Oh I know, you should spend time right here today, in this small apartment. Maybe It will change your mind about shifting."
"Yeah sure, though I am confident my decision won't change."
"Okay, so do you like video games?"
"Never tried them."
"Lets have your first time then."
I didn't like the sound of that, It fitted the situation quite terrific though.
She turned on the TV. Then she gave me a controller or console is it called?
When the game started, I was kinda surprised. I was expecting some girly, candy, chocolate or simulation game like pet or farm stuff. But it was rather, what I call a violent game. One of those in which a guy keeps running with a machine gun in hand and shoots anything that moves.
"What happened?"
"No nothing, I was just thinking it's a rather boyish type of game."
"Oh come on, we can play whatever we like."
"No, I mean you like boyish things and you look boyish. So I thought….."
"Don't worry I am a girl & I am into boys. I won't try to hit on you or anything."
"Now I regret ever saying that."
"Do you want to have girls talk? Speaking of boys. Do you know any?"
"Boys either tease me or ignore me, I mean they used to. When I was in middle school. I don't see much boys now that I am in a girls school. What about you?"
"Well I had some guy friends in middle school. But now that I think about it, they were just trying to hit on me."
"You must be popular among boys."
"Well you know boys these days, they have what was it called again? 'Tomboy Fetish'."
"Huh? Really that's gross."
"Isn't it. They thought of me like a reverse trap character and simp on me."
"Speaking of traps, why do you behave like a boy?"
"I don't like faking stuff. If I don't like pink then I won't pretend to like it to follow norms. Same with hair & clothes."
"Well the fact that you don't like pink is itself that make you a Tomboy."
"Speaking of boys. What is your type?"
"I mean what kind of boys you like."
"I dunno, kind boys perhaps."
"Don't mind the body."
"Oh you don't care about the body huh? I understand."
"Anyway, what about you?"
"Well, he should do as I tell him & we are good."
"Oh I understand, anything you tell him."
"Lol, having fun over there."
We were laughing like idiots. Mean while We forgot to play the game all along.
When we really started playing, the time flew by so fast I didn't realise till it was 8:00 PM already.
"Guess I'll go."
"Alright, good bye."
Did I really have to go back there? I felt like I would rather go to hell than back there.
My legs won't move. We were having so much fun. Did I make the right decision? I didn't know what to do.
"What's the matter?"
"Hmm… oh nothing. I am off, okay."
Or so I said but I didn't move. What was it that was stopping me? The offer she had made? I can't be selfish here. I need to think fast. Go back or not let's decide.
"If you don't wanna go back then let's do one thing."
You didn't tell your family where are you going did you?
"Then if you don't go back there. They would be worried sick. Won't they?"
"I dunno about worried but they will get angry."
"Okay, then don't go there, when they call you, say you are staying over a friend's place."
Was it a good idea or not I wasn't sure but I did wanted to see what would happen if I didn't reached home for once. Would they be worried? Would they call me? Would they even notice? Would they take relief that I may have end up dead somewhere. I wanted to know. I really did.
"Umm sure, Lets do that, I will help you cook."
"Cook? I don't cook here or anything. I buy stuff or whatever."
"Then why I see that kitchen over there?."
"That you mean? That's more like a show piece, no connection of gas or anything."
"So what would we eat?."
"Let's go buy something, more like let's order something. Not in the mood to go out."
"Says the girl who keeps wandering out at dark nights on deserted places."
"Well you see, things are different now, you are here so..."
"I filled up the emptiness?."
Ah Cringe !
"Yeah totally, not to say you are fat or anything."
Fat? Me ? A joke it is, totally!
"Is pizza alright?"
"That's a real forbidden stuff to eat for dinner."
"It's fine every once in a while."
"One is a while huh? Those pizza boxes in dustbin...."
"Don't mind the trivial stuff."
The pizza came and we started opening the boxes.
"Lets watch movie or something. What genre you like."
"Don't mind the genre. Anything you like is fine."
"What I like huh? You might run away If I turned on what I like."
"Why do I feel vulnerable all of a sudden?"
Suddenly my phone started beeping and my heart started racing. Did they really called me? It was 9 o'clock which is way beyond curfew for teenagers. Are they worried about me or are they angry. What would they say to me, what would I say to them?
"Is it yours where did you keep it?"
"In my bag.... yeah there."
Liz handed me the bag and I pulled it out. A number was flashing. Did I not saved their phone numbers? How silly I am! Lets just pick it up....
I tapped green and put it near my ear.
Why so silent.
Ah finally......
"Limited Offer fifty percent off on yearly recharge. 179 only."
Fifty percent huh? Fifity percent?
Fifty percent......
Fifty percent.....
Fifty percent.....
"Um Romie what the matter? Are you okay?"
"Huh what?"
"Fifity no no 179."
Liz started shaking my shoulders.
"Snap out of it what happened? what did she say?"
"Huh she? Who? Oh Liz it's you.? You know there is a Limited offer going on right now. Fifty percent off, fifty percent, 179."
"179? What in the world are you crying for."
"Crying? Oh this this hot stuff on my face, are they tears? 
"You were faking it weren't you, all those jokes and smiles. See how much disturbed you are, crying over a silly Spam Call. Get a hold of yourself."
Yeah I was faking it so what? I couldn't have ruined her mood because of my problems. No one likes a cry baby.
"I am sorry, I am such a pain aren't I? Haha."
She didn't reply, Was she thing how to get rid of me. How to end things with me?
"Hey Romie", she called suddenly.
"Huh? What?"
"What me to decide for you?"
I didn't get what she meant or Maybe I did but I nodded my head anyway.
"Okay then, I won't let you go back until your family come and collect you respectfully."
"Come and collect me? Impossible. Look at the time It's 11 o'clock. They didn't bother to call me I bet there are waiting for the cops to call them and tell them that I had died and....."
"It's okay, If they don't come, then you stay here."
"You sure? I am a pain you see."
"Sure? Yeah I haven't been this sure about anything before."
Her eyes were telling me that she meant it. So I believed her.
Or rather I believed in her!

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