If I had the chance to bite her, but I didn’t take it, does that mean I’m getting stronger? Maybe it’s like exposure therapy. The more she’s around, the easier it is to resist the nagging voice in my head telling me to eat her. It doesn’t feel very difficult, but the desire is still there. If she didn’t keep moving my hands from places she didn’t like being touched, would I have just succumbed to the moment and acted on instinct?
While my head was full of thoughts about my self-control, my real concern for the day was Nai-bu. Aside from her own texts being very giddy, her roommate messaged me too. Sandy and I hadn’t really spoken much since the thing with Nai-bu’s parents, but she seemed concerned for where Nai-bu’s head was. I can’t say I disliked how bubbly Nai-bu seemed to be lately, honestly it was really cute, but Sandy was right that it was a little much. She’s normally way more casual about missing me.
When I tried to suggest to Nai-bu that she go back to her apartment after work, she insisted she had to come over to do laundry since her apartment’s laundry room was a little sketchy. I tried to deter her by saying I had plans, but she said she could just do her laundry and wait for me to get back. I wasn’t trying to lie to her, but that’s what it became. I just thought the one day away would be good, but now I needed plans.
Jason was the first person I tried to reach out to, but he didn’t take it very seriously.
“You really think she’ll buy that you have plans to leave the house?” Jason said over the phone, clearly wanting to laugh.
“I didn’t exactly have any options! I’m not used to someone wanting to see me so badly!” I was nervous. Being desired by someone I like was pretty foreign to me these days.
“Well I’m busy, so you’ll have to come up with some other excuse.” Jason said, before hanging up.
With Jason abandoning me, I knew I only had one other option. I only ever imagined asking in the case of an emergency, but I really didn’t want to regret this choice.
“You’re not messing with me, right?” Kyle asked, sitting in his car, as I climbed in through the passenger side.
I sighed. “Nope. Just looking to get out of the house.”
Kyle wasn’t exactly at the top of my list of people to spend time with, but I knew he’d be excited and drop anything to hang out. It really was that or asking Dale to spend time with me, but that didn’t feel like a good idea right now. Maybe learning what Kyle was up to would be cool.
I told the guy I didn’t like being around a lot of people and would like to get something to eat. I told Nai-bu I would be eating, so she didn’t have to cook. Hopefully enough idle time will help her remember a hobby or play some games. At worst she’ll clean up something without asking, but there isn’t anything she could really mess up doing that. Some distance makes the heart grow fonder. And she knew Kyle wasn’t exactly competition.
Surprisingly, Kyle took us to a park I hadn’t been to before. The last time I walked with him, I considered I might be a little out of shape, so I started trying to keep myself moving a little more around the house. He said he wanted to walk on one of the hiking trails that went into the woods, but I convinced him to walk a trail that went around the playground instead. I didn’t want to be around a lot of people, but alone in the woods with Kyle was a worse idea.
“You didn’t answer last time, so can you tell me about when you guys were kids?” Kyle asked. We were both watching some kids play on the playground while we walked.
“This again? We were just normal kids.” I didn’t like thinking about it.
“But those costumes from before the show! You guys clearly did something together!”
I sighed. “The costumes were Jason’s idea. He always wanted to play the hero.”
He was excited. “So you pretended to be like the characters you’d end up being on the show?”
I laughed. “No. Nai-bu and I were trying to play together all the time. Jason always wanted to interrupt and make us play his games.”
No way I was telling Kyle that Nai-bu was my only friend when we were little. Mama would try to plan playdates, but I don’t think anyone came over more than once. Probably because of dinner. Jason was just on me about being an alien. Nai-bu would genuinely seek me out and play whatever I wanted to play. And I would play what she wanted to play. It was kinda peaceful– when Jason didn’t interrupt.
“But nothing was like the show then?” Kyle was pushing.
“I mean, I guess? I never watched the show, and as far as my ‘acting’ method goes, I just tried to play pretend with my friends. I barely even used the scripts.”
“So you did improv!” Kyle shouted, before remembering he was outside. “I always wondered why the scripts were always different during your scenes!”
“If you want to call it that. I just wanted to play with Nai-bu.” That was something I didn’t mind thinking back on.
An hour or so passed and we had just been sitting on a bench. We were practically on other ends of the bench, by my preference. He tried to be more casual with me, but I wasn’t into it. I was trying to give him a chance, but I forgot how many questions he liked to ask.
We decided to get Wendy’s for dinner and eat in the parking lot. I told Kyle that cool people eat in the parking lot, but honestly I just didn’t want to be seen sitting with him like that. The burger I got wasn’t really hitting, and I forgot to bring some jerky, so I ended up just casually tossing fries into a sewer drain, trying to convince Kyle to do the same like it was a competition. He threw maybe two fries, but wanted to finish them. Pretty lame, dude.
When we were done, Kyle asked if I wanted to do anything else, but I just wanted to go home. I mentioned that Nai-bu was probably waiting for me, and he looked discouraged. He didn’t do anything wrong, besides being himself, but I probably would have had a better time staying home and having dinner with Nai-bu.
“You two really do go together…” Kyle said, turning onto my street. Was it obvious I missed her?
“I know you said there wasn’t anything in the show, but in real life we were best friends.” I said, staring out the window. “I’m really glad she came back.”
Kyle sighed. “Maybe I need to rewatch the show. Knowing you were improvising, maybe I missed something.”
He dropped me off and thanked me for hanging out with him. I thanked him for being willing to hangout so suddenly. When I got back into my house, Nai-bu practically tackled me, almost knocking me back out the door.
As she held onto me, she quizzically looked at Kyle’s car pulling out of the driveway. “Is everything okay? Did you have enough to eat?”
Before I could answer, my stomach growled. “M-Maybe I could go for a snack.”
She grabbed my hand and walked me to the kitchen. “Well you’re in luck that I just made some cookies!”
“You didn’t have to do that!” I was actually surprised. She hadn’t really talked about baking before.
“I had time, and figured you would have room for dessert.”
Her smile warmed me so quickly, I entirely forgot about how much I missed her. I immediately felt better just being with her. She cared when we were kids, and she cares now. I shouldn’t be afraid or intimidated by her feelings. I should be happy.
Would she move in if I asked?