Chapter 23:

sCene 23 - ɴeᴡ Coᴍꜰoʀᴛaʙʟe

ᴋraCᴋeᴅ ᴍooN / Kracked Moon

Having Nai-bu come around more often was becoming normalized for me. I was starting to question whether I felt more comfortable with her there or without her there. But despite the change in feeling, some things stayed the same.

“You’re not streaming today! Let me in!” Kyle shouted from my patio.

“I took the day off to spend with Nai-bu. She’ll be here soon.”

Although Kyle was still needy and begging to hangout regularly, he had gotten better at not messaging me all the time. And it definitely felt like he was showing up unannounced less often, but it's also possible that when Nai-bu is here, he doesn’t make himself known. I definitely think the guy is still being weird, but I’m used to it now.

Kyle cupped his face on the sliding screen door. “Isn’t it boring just waiting for her? I’m here right now! We can play a game!”

“Maybe some other time, guy. Not today.”

He normally got the message after a while, but it helped that Nai-bu arrived a little bit after. While Kyle ran off to do whatever Kyles do, I just chilled out at the kitchen table.

Nai-bu opened the front door. She announced, “Honey! I’m home!”

I laughed a bit. “Did you have a good day at work?”

She walked into the kitchen and smiled at me. “It just got better.”

I wasn’t exactly sure when it started, but we were definitely being more silly with each other. It was freeing being with someone who was being direct about her affection. Since high school I tried using dating apps or meeting people online and then inviting them over, but it never really worked out, not aided by my hermit lifestyle. Maybe I just finally let myself open up since Nai-bu already knew my baggage. Well, some of my baggage.

Whether I was streaming or not, Nai-bu had formed a habit of cleaning up as soon as she walked in. After she put her bag down, she immediately started cleaning up any stray mail or empty food containers. I was getting better about it, but I wasn’t exactly trying to form new habits. If I didn’t stop her she’d run the sink to wash my dishes. We’re going to make more dirty dishes later so it really can wait.

“Did you have plans for dinner?” She asked, wiping some of the countertops.

“I’m cool with whatever.” Even though she had started grocery shopping for my house, I didn’t want to assume anything.

“I’ll make spaghetti then.” She looked like she was already prepping. It wasn’t even 2 yet.

“Slow down! Let’s relax a bit! You just got off work!”

I grabbed her gently by the elbows and walked her out of the kitchen and into the living room. It was definitely different now that someone was bothering to keep the room clean, but neither of us bothered opening the blinds. The thin rays of light wrapping around and sneaking into the room weren’t hitting the TV, so I sat her down and told her to put something on. I also did this because I could feel impressive by offering her a drink. She liked juice and was keeping it in my fridge.

Presenting her with a drink made me feel good. Like I could definitely make her happy. It was small and silly, but she still reacted like I just gave her the best thing in the world. Was it just that she really liked the juice? Or because I did it? I think I want to do nice things for her.

Thankfully she didn’t put on episodes of Forgotten Station, but she did want to watch videos about lost media. I knew a little bit about people who deep dive on obscure or forgotten media, but Nai-bu was really into it. If a video would mention something and not explain it, she’d quickly explain as if she had watched these videos multiple times over. I asked her if she watched any of the shows they covered before, and she said she hadn’t.

“I just think it's interesting that people cared enough about something so much that they worked together to find it.” She said, smiling. “Even if it isn’t something I knew about, it is cool that people cared.”

Why is she always so sweet?

Later I let her actually make dinner. I wanted to help, but she insisted that she wanted to do it herself. The least I could do was set the table. I still wasn’t used to the smell of actual cooking in my own house. I normally just heat up frozen food or order out, if I’m not feeling a little insecure and just eating jerky all day. I don’t even think I’ve made toast before. Mama always did all the cooking, and when she left, Dale just told me to figure it out for myself. He probably thought I could cook when he said that. Or thought that all I needed was the jerky.

That night, we went to bed together. It was early for me, but it was nice to just lay with her. I tried to test the waters by sleeping in only my bra and some shorts. Nai-bu on the other hand was wearing one of my pajama sets with long sleeves. She always seemed giddy to borrow something from me, but she was clearly sweating. It was a hot night.

“The fan’s on high. If you need to undre–”

“I’m fine! I promise!” She insisted. “Just cuddle me!”

I sighed. “I can’t cuddle you when you’re like a wet sponge.”

“Being next to you is enough.” She said this while trying to fan herself out.

I tried not to worry too much about stuff like this, but I had plenty of thoughts. She’s eager to cuddle, but hasn’t really undressed in front of me yet. I’ve caught her ogling me more than enough times, but hasn’t really offered the same. The most she’s given me were cute pictures, but nothing revealing. Was she only into me for my body? No, that can’t be right. Maybe there’s something about her body. Is she actually insecure?