March 21, 2019. Thursday.
The urgent drive to win Dylan’s heart flees me into Luster at around 9AM with breakfast in hand. She flinches away from the computer and pouts, displaying her somber and puffy-red eyes. I rest the takeout meal and the cup of coffee on the counter as I put her rugged face under a microscope. “What the hell happened to you?” I interrogate in a demanding air.
“You,” she mutters.
“What?” I snap.
“Just stay away from me, Ace,” she sobs. “I don’t want to get to know you anymore.”
“Excuse me? Does this have something to do with your screaming insecurities again?”
“Look, I still don’t know you, all right? But it’s easy to fall in love with you. It’s dangerous. It’s a total suicide for me. I can’t do this.”
“Stop brewing,” I yelp. “I got you pancakes and coffee. What did you do last night, anyway? Why do you look like you’ve been attacked by goblins?”
“I cried,” she mumbles.
“‘Cause I don’t wanna feel something for you. I don’t wanna go crazy. I don’t wanna murder myself.”
“Will you stop acting like some paranoid goat already? Is this why you didn’t buzz me in?”
“You made me cry, too.”
“You’re a lunatic.”
“What should I do to make you believe that I’m for real, Dylan? Tell me. ‘Cause I hate to see you brewing around, despising and questioning my guts while I walnut against your fears. What should I do?”
“Just stay away.”
“You know there is no way in hell that I’d do that,” I point out. “I have three things tanking up on my mind right now — get to know you, get closer to you, and get you to dance with me. Then you decide. Whether I’ve convinced you enough to share the dance floor with me — or I’d still scare you away. For now — don’t worry about losing me anytime of the day ‘cause it would never happen, anyway. Maybe not until I would have to fly back home. But it’s the least of our worries, really. ‘Cause I wouldn’t be this miserable pop-in walnut if you were just some boring, ordinary, bland potato. Clinched?”
“Claimed,” she agrees. “Have you had breakfast yet?”
“Yeah,” I reply. “I’ve had oatmeal and some apple slices.”
“Cool,” she says. “I have to do my groceries after work, though. My human impulses drilled on like a construction machine last night, so I did a lot of deep cleaning in my suite, and threw out all the rotten stuff from my fridge, too. And this was while I was thrilling out yowls over you. I thought it would work, but –”
“Dylan,” I say, holding her hand, “don’t ever hurt yourself like that again. You promise?”
“I don’t know, Ace,” she sighs.
“Just say it!”
“Okay okay! God!”
“Just say the words.”
“Clinched,” I yelp.
“Claimed,” she seconds.
“I’ll help you with grocery shopping later.”
“Don’t you have something rewarding to do?”
“Keep discriminating against my walnut, and I’d terrorize you more. So shut up.”
“This miracle is just blaring out of my panic siren, all right?”
“You waltzed in to work with an empty stomach, didn’t you?” I brush off her guff.
“Yeah,” she replies.
“Now go on and revitalize your day. Eat.”
“Thank you for breakfast.”