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I feel great.

No, not great.

I feel stupendous. Yes, that is more accurate.

Really, I don’t know what is with my current feeling, as nothing in particular has changed in these past few hours, but I am currently feeling absolutely stupendous right now.

It’s very weird feeling this good about myself when just a couple hours ago a man died in front of me after warning me to leave the city I currently reside in, but I can’t help it. I’m happy.

We are back in the hotel room, and Delta has already changed into a pair of pajamas. With a pastel heart pattern, it is the most feminine thing I have seen her wear my entire time with her, but she is still able to pull it off with enough disdain that it feels more neutral than anything else.

She currently lays on the edge of the bed closest to the window, sipping on a can of beer while flipping through the TV stations with her TV control device that can change the settings remotely. The device is like a long rectangle with many multi-colored buttons on it. I am not sure what it is actually called.

On the other side of the bed Francis lays, arms crossed, staring up at the ceiling. He hasn’t talked much since we left the arcade. I hesitate to ask why, though, because I am somewhat worried that it could be something I said or did. I am often one to foolishly exacerbate contentious situations through my inability to read the air socially, so I want to make good effort to keep my tendencies to a minimum.

Right now, I am standing by the window to the balcony, looking out at the setting sun and the nice scenic view below. For the most part, at least. I sometimes glance at the TV, because I hear something interesting or perhaps there is a flash of color. This time when I look, there is a TV show about nature, where two furry animals clash in a fit of violence. One of them bests the other makes a piercing roar. Delta pumps the fist holding her can of beer and grunts.

She and I have not yet discussed the old man as much as we should have. From the way Francis has been acting, we thought it would be best to discuss it over dinner, but he is intent on staying indoors I think. He hasn’t changed into pajamas, but he does not look to be moving anytime soon.

You know, at this point, I guess it would be wise if I were to get pajamas for myself. The more pajamas together, the better it will be, as the saying likely goes, so I want to create an entire pajama party filled with pajama pals.

I find my backpack and select the brown teddy bear design and begin stripping—

“Yo, Eryk, go to the bathroom for that,” Delta snaps.

“What?”

“You’re not getting buck naked in front of us like it’s nothing,” she says. “At least feel shameful about it when you do it.”

“Shameful...”

“Let him do whatever,” Francis mutters. “Who the hell cares?”

“I...” Delta cuts herself off. “Okay. I don’t have a problem with it. I just think it’s indecent and gross is all.”

“I do not believe there is anything gross with the human body,” I say. “In fact, the human body is quite beautiful. I have found a great appreciation for a great number of bodies in my time.”

“Well... Dude bodies are kind of gross,” Delta says.

“That is your flawed opinion, then,” I say.

I strip off my clothes for the day and change into the teddy bear pajamas. Then, when I am in my new bedtime outfit, I do my ultimate move—I perform a standing backflip and land clear in the middle of the bed, sandwiching myself between Francis and Delta. I bounce against the bed and shake the whole thing, but I land on my back safely and with maximum grace.

“Now, I wish to see more of the furry creatures battling,” I say, putting my hands behind my neck and leaning my head back.

“That program is over,” Delta says. You just missed it.

“Drat. What else is on, then?”

“Uhh.... Let’s see.” Delta turns on a new TV program that is actually just a listing of all TV shows for the rest of the night. A very convenient guide, in my opinion. “Die Hard rerun, but it’s already twenty minutes in. The Real Housewives of Paso Robles. Wine & Country & Fun. The Godfather Revisited. A show called Terminal Vices... It’s about... two twin brothers unknowingly dating the same man, and that man is also an assassin. Oh.”

Delta flips to that last show immediately. Oh, Delta, what a card.

I like this life. Staying in a nice hotel room with my two dear friends, watching TV shows about assassins, and sipping on alcohol.

Speaking of that... “Delta, would you be so kind as to pass a can of beer to me?” I ask.

“You gonna pay for it?”

“Um.”

“Just kidding,” she says flatly. She tosses a can my way and I catch it with my right hand—

But it bounces off and plops onto Francis’s tummy. He yelps, and then shoots into an upright position immediately.

“Huh?”

I guess he finally managed to nod off in the moments before I dropped my beer.

“Sorry about that,” I say.

“That’s okay,” he says, barely conscious. “I deserved it...” And he lays back down asleep.

By the way, I was honestly... a bit wrong about how many people could comfortably fit on this bed. I was so impressed by its large size that I overestimated it to an extent. It turns out that, yes, three people can fit on this bed, but it is a bit snug. Now, I have had plenty of experience conserving sleeping mat space with Malia in the past, but she and I were usually a lot closer than normal comrades would be for obvious reasons. This... is a bit less comfortable than I would have otherwise wanted.

That becomes especially evident when Francis’s arms spread out and immediately one of them jabs me in the side. I probably deserved that for something else in the past.

Now that Francis is asleep, though, it becomes clear to me that Delta wants to talk. I don’t know why she wanted to wait until he was asleep to do it, though...

“Eryk, did you tell him?” she asks quietly.

“About what? About the old man’s creepy cryptic warning? Not yet,” I say.

“Me neither,” she says. “He wasn’t there for any of that. But from the way he’s acting... I think he’s going to want to go back after this.”

“Go back? Like, home? To San Fransisco?”

“Maybe. He gets in these kinds of moods sometimes, but it’s hard to tell what mood it is exactly.”

“Perhaps it would be best to directly ask him,” I suggest.

Delta shakes her head and takes a swig of beer. “That’s not how relationships in the modern world work. It doesn’t matter if you’re best friends or distant relatives, it’s just not in good social ettiquite anymore to be direct about that sort of thing. You’re supposed to gently prod around the topic until you have an educated guess, and then you have to just assume your guess is correct for the rest of time until proven wrong.”

“This sounds like a definite road to painful emotions and broken friendships,” I say.

“Yeah, but we have social media now, so we don’t really think about it that much anymore.”

“Usually Earth fills me with wonder and joy, but some of its customs are so strange and peculiar... and not in a good way, either.”

“I’ll bet. Like the beer?”

“Yes. It’s very thick. Very heavy. Just the way I enjoy my alcohol.”

“You’re my kind of guy,” she says.

“And you’re my kind of girl,” I say. When she gives me a suspicious look, I add, “I mean, to be platonic friends with and nothing more. Obviously I hold no interest in you. That would mean disastrous things, not least of which because of my lingering feelings for my lost love for Malia.”

“And because of the fact I’m gay?”

“That, too. But that is less important in my eyes. Because my love is my own destiny. If I were to fall for a woman who has no eyes for men, that is not her fault. But it is a disaster nonetheless, no?”

“Yeah. I think they made a movie about that once,” she says. “Chasing Amy? I think that’s what it’s called. I... wonder if they have Netflix on this thing.” She clicks a few buttons and pulls up something called “Video on Demand.” “Oh, this is close enough. I wonder if Chasing Amy is on here. I’ve always kind of wanted to see it...”

“What exactly is this about? A star-crossed love relationship?”

“Yeah, I think so, except that the guy is straight and in love with a lesbian woman and he has a lot of painful feelings about it. I bet he goes gay or something.”

“I wish to see this as well. Can you find it?”

“It’s here, but it’s also $2.99... Is it worth it?”

“Yes!”

“Okay.”

With Francis asleep in bed beside us, Delta and I scoot together and stack our pillows together so we can both sit up at a more inclined angle. We begin watching the 1997 movie Chasing Amy, all about a comic book artist who falls for a lesbian woman. It’s hilarious and emotional from the first scene, with this hopeless man who is unable to break away from his feelings for this woman who simply does not like him in return, and then they...

Oh.

Well.

That is certainly a way that a movie can go.

Um...

Delta and I do not exchange words after the movie is over. We do not even exchange glances. We scoot apart as far as we can from one another and go to sleep.

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A note from Thedude3445

I just realized as of this exact moment that my process of pasting chapters into Royal Road also removes the italics from the story. So all of the movie and TV show titles I have ever made are in plain text form unless I notice them afterwards and correct it. I feel... very sad about that for some reason


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About the author

Thedude3445

Bio: I like to watch movies.

Avatar art by Mikayla Buan https://twitter.com/mikayla_buan

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