The mood is sweet, and the day is only starting. Two young adults are sitting on the couch in a living room, watching The Little Mermaid on the television.
One is Rachel, a 20-year-old blonde woman studying animation at the local college. She enjoys spending long days on the couch watching cartoons, and faux-romantic candlelit pizza dinners that she can laugh at. She collects anime figurines and pictures of her friends making exaggerated faces. Rachel has a rather modest opinion of herself, but all of her friends think she is quite adorable.
The other is David. David is studying engineering at the aforementioned college, where he met Rachel. He is only a year older than her, with brown hair and a slightly chubby build. He enjoys working with his hands, and has a blog where he posts about his inventions and works in progress, as well as engineering-related tutorials. He has never dated anyone before, but his friends think he is the perfect wing-man.
David and Rachel have known each other for about six months now. They are frequently teased about how they look like a couple by their friends. They are very close, to the point where they are comfortable with physical intimacy; even now, David has his arm resting on the back of the couch behind Rachel’s head.
Hence the teasing.
On the television, Ariel is in a rowboat with Prince Eric, floating in the blue lagoon. Sebastian and his animal companions are singing “Kiss the Girl” in order to invoke a subconscious desire within Eric to... well, kiss the girl.
Rachel giggles. David smiles and asks, “What’s so funny?”
“This is kind of silly, but when I was little, I hoped that this song would play in the background of my first kiss.” She sounds embarrassed, but smiles, amused by the memory. David smiles too.
Her comment is the perfect opening to engage a step that would reveal both their feelings for each other. David leans down and--
Everything around David has stopped, and he has looked up, confused. Rachel remains frozen, along with everything else. She is part of the tableau.
Wait this can’t be right. Let’s start again.
Endeared by her childhood memory, David leans in to initiate--
“No I’m not.”
Yes you are.
“No I’m not!” David exclaims. “I’m not kissing Rachel!”
“I don’t have any feelings for her!” He continues. “Who is this? Is that you, Mark? Mark I swear to God—”
I am not Mark. I am the voice who is going to bring you and Rachel together, resolving the romantic and sexual tension you two have been experiencing for--
“There is no romantic tension!” David screams. “And definitely no sexual tension, Jesus Christ!”
Jesus has naught to do with the potential relationship between you and Rachel, David. Heed my words. Ye are meant to be.
David is incredulous. “Says who? You?”
You are only hearing one voice.
“Well, I don’t give a shit,” David says firmly. “Rachel is a cool and funny person, but I don’t want to ask her out, and I don’t want to get into her pants. She can keep her pants. And I’ll keep my pants too, and wear a goddamned belt if I have to.”
Your feelings will only grow stronger if you suppress them, David. The dam of denial can only hold for so--
“Not if there aren’t any feelings in the first place.”
David’s arms are crossed, and his face is stone-cut with stubbornness.
Ah, I see what the problem is. A different scene is in order.
The room and everything within it rearranges itself. The television screen is blank. David and Rachel, two very close “best friends” are sitting at the kitchen table. Atop a small pile of pizza boxes is a small candle with an even smaller flame descending the wick; Rachel loves faux-romantic pizza dinners for the silliness of it. David laughs with her as she gently dabs sauce off her face with a napkin while making a mockingly snooty look.
She is very cute when she laughs, David observes.
“But not in the way you’re implying it,” he mutters.
David looks up from his own pizza slice to notice a spot of cheese stuck to Rachel’s chin. She doesn’t seem to notice.
“Hey Rachel—” David calls as he reaches his hand towards her. Rachel looks up at the sound of her name. Tension builds.
“What is it?”
David reaches over and picks up a napkin.
Oh you little shit.
“Here,” he said. “You’ve got some cheese on your face.”
David retains a feeling of satisfaction within himself as she wipes off the food. How anti-climatic. How—how rude.
“This is even cheesier than—”
Heh, you said cheesier.
“This is even more cliché than the movie!”
But it was the perfect opportunity to--
“I’m not gonna kiss her,” David reassures, looking up and cocking an eyebrow.
Don’t you give me that look.
David gives that look.
And then David finds himself, with Rachel, walking down a beach.
“It’s a nice day out, isn’t it?” Rachel asks, deaf to the nagging voice.
“Uh, yeah, I guess,” David answers.
She hugs his arm as they walk, which David doesn’t mind. Although a part of him wants to pull his arm away to cut off a certain something else’s satisfaction, he doesn’t bother because it is a nice day, and he doesn’t want to ruin Rachel’s good mood.
He begins to think about his feelings for her.
Platonic relationships are wonderful.
David is no longer able to control his feelings, and he--
“That’s it! I can’t take it anymore!”
This is addressed to both Rachel and the nagging voice, and she looks up confused.
“What’s wrong?” She asks cautiously.
David pulls away from her, and grabs her by the shoulders and looks straight into her small green eyes.
“Rachel, do you have feelings for anyone right now?”
“What? Uh... no.”
“No one at all?”
Rachel shakes her head, face flushed. One would think it is because of David’s sudden interrogation, but it could also be interpreted as--
“Don’t you go there!” David shouts before resuming the scene with Rachel. “So when you say no one at all, you mean me too, right?”
“Um, yeah. Why? Mark hasn’t been bullshitting you with those fake love notes again, has he?”
David cringes as he remembers that week. Rachel gives him a quizzical look.
“...You’re not gonna make me give you ‘friend-zone’ crap, are you?”
“Because the friend-zone doesn’t exist.”
“No, Rachel, I don’t like you either. I mean like like you. We’re friends.”
“We are friends, yes.”
David lets out a breath of relief. Rachel remains confused.
“You weren’t taking my clinginess the wrong way, were you?” She asks.
“No, it was just—” David stops, and then, realizing he can’t explain how some God-like force was warping reality in order to coax them into starting a romantic relationship, which they should totally be in I tell you, he instead says, “Yeah, I mean, I know how you’re clingy with everyone, but sometimes... I get confused, I guess. Plus... yeah I just wanted to make sure.”
“Okay.” Rachel easily accepts what he says and resumes hugging his arm. They walk together, sadly with no tension of either the romantic or sexual variety, but after a few minutes Rachel stops. She looks around, confused by her surroundings.
“What’s wrong?” David asks.
“...Why the hell are we on a beach?”
When she is not on the internet blogging or chatting with buddies, Erin often finds herself consumed by paper, through drawing, reading or doodling and planning out ideas. She also enjoys playing video games, watching old cartoons and throwing sarcastic remarks at her siblings. Her motivation stems from her interests and her friends, and she enjoys turning them into characters and letting them run wild in her fantasy worlds.