It’s Wednesday and by now, I think you know what that means. Another #WritingWednesday post! This week, I thought I’d share one of my favorite chapters from She Falls Asleep. This chapter is one of the more light-hearted and cute moments in the book that desperately make you want to ship Cassadee and Luca despite their little friendship vow. I remember having loads of fun writing it, and I hope you guys enjoy it, as well!
“Ugh…what is that stupid noise?” I groan as I restlessly toss and turn, pulling the cotton pillow over my head in hopes that the noise would at least soften.
I don’t know how long I have been asleep, but I can bet that it is nighttime since the sun is no longer trying to shine through my curtains and blind me with UV rays. I wake up with the most painful headache I have ever received. Naturally, I rub my temples to lessen the pain. But no matter how hard I rub them, the headache remains. I fear that this might be the cause of a brain tumor since it hurts so terribly, but I won’t dwell on that thought. My mind has enough negativity swimming along; I don’t need more of that.
This just had to be the end result of the worst panic attack I have ever had in my life, I think as I continue rubbing my temples. Jesus, it’s been hours already and I’m still in pain! If only Dad hadn’t been so inconsiderate and just listened to Van…that totally could have been avoided! But nope. He naturally had to be stubborn and ignore what Van was alluding to. And as a result, something serious could be wrong with my neuron right now and I don’t know what it could be. Fan-fucking-tastic.
In a rhythmic manner, various objects are thrown at the window closest to my bed. My headache worsens with each tap, tap, tap knocking on the window. With the assumption that the growing pain is caused by being in an upright position, I lie down again to see if it makes any difference. Nope. Not even a little difference. It’s like someone is deliberately trying to make this weekend the worst one in my entire life. My guess is that whoever it is, they’re throwing rocks. I mean, that’s what everyone throws at windows if they want someone’s attention. It’s like the cardinal rule of object throwing at windows.
Livid, I hop out of bed to open the curtains and lift the window. In order to catch the person responsible for the ruckus and worsening my headache to excruciating lengths, I sit myself on the sill and scan the area below. Despite the now blackened nighttime sky, I can see clearly. However, the perpetrator of the rock throwing is closer to me than I imagined. I thought they would be standing directly under my window or anywhere on the lawn, but they’re not. Hell, the person isn’t even on the ground. They’re sitting parallel to me right outside my window with their feet off of the ground.
Of course Luca would do something like this, I think to myself after making out his six foot two figure sitting on the apple tree right outside my window. Who else would be up at such a profound time to throw rocks at my window just to see me? I should have instantly known that he would be up to such shenanigans, that rascal!
Even though it’s near pitch black outside, I know that it’s Luca because I don’t know anyone else tall enough to be sitting in a tree the way that he’s sitting: awkwardly with his legs crossed. Besides, the stars are illuminating the sky so brightly that a flashlight or lamp isn’t necessary to be able to see.
“I’m not bothering you, am I?” he worriedly whispers.
I glare at him as I rub my temples. The headache’s pain just won’t go away!
“I don’t know if you can see the expression on my face, but I’m currently furious, Luca Dawson.” I snarl as I swing my legs back and forth like a kid sitting on a swing. “I’m actually glaring at you right now. And do you know why? Of course not. You woke me up and I have the biggest headache that I’ve ever had in my entire life. Your rock throwing only made it worse and who the hell knows when it’ll go away!”
“I’m sorry,” he apologizes, still whispering. “I’m just so thankful that you’re awake and well after what happened last night. Besides, I couldn’t wait to see you. I just had to immediately see you in person to verify your status. I didn’t want to use the front door for obvious reasons.”
I chuckle at his choice of words.
“My dad’s not going to run you over with his Bugatti,” I tease. “You know how he feels about his prized possessions. It’s too expensive and it‘s probably too late right now for that.”
He bursts into laughter.
“What time is it, anyway?” I ask. “I kinda fell asleep after my family left me alone and it was Sunday afternoon then.”
“It’s Monday morning. 1 AM,” he replies. “You’ve been asleep for quite a while if you blacked out Saturday night, woke up Sunday afternoon, went back to sleep, and then woke up not too long ago.”
“Well that’s what a bitch of a panic attack can do to you. Besides, isn’t it too late for you to be climbing up apple trees to talk to a girl?” I joke with a slight chuckle, nodding my head in disapproval. “Tsk, tsk. What would your parents say to that? Chasing a girl at this time of night! Oh the stories that this city will tell thanks to your behavior!”
“First off, you’re not my mom, Cassadee. You don’t have the power to scold me like that. Secondly, I’m an adult. You can’t tell me what to do because I do what I want, whenever I want,” he counters. “And thirdly, she’s worth it because she’s my best friend. She‘s always worth it no matter what time of day it might be.”
I’m so thankful that Luca can’t clearly read my face because it’s completely crimson from blushing. He can usually tell when I’m blushing, too, because my face is naturally so pale that any sort of color in my cheeks becomes completely visible. He really is the light of my life, my beacon of hope in this dark, cruel world.
“Come join me,” he coaxes, patting the branch’s empty space beside him.
“I don’t know,” I say with uncertainty. “I’m on the fourth story. What if I fall? What if I break a bone or worse…DIE from falling? It’ll be all your fault if something bad happens to me.”
“I told you that I’d die for you,” he reminds me. “Just trust me. I’ll catch you regardless of whether or not you slip. You know I wouldn’t let that happen. I’d rather die first then see you go.”
He holds his hand out as I carefully stand on the windowsill, taking extra care to make sure that I don’t fall down the four stories. With me standing up essentially on my tip toes and arms grasping the sides of the window, it must look like I’m about to jump to my death. I stare at Luca, focusing on his outstretched hand, and take a deep breath before our hands meet. At least my monkey arms do help me in this case because when they’re fully extended, I can actually reach Luca’s hand. Once our hands are firmly grasped together, I jump from window to apple tree. Luca falls back as I land in his arms, but thankfully he doesn’t fall. That would have been a sight to see and I would feel greatly responsible for unintentionally hurting him.
“Are you okay?” I ask as I slide off of his lap and onto the space beside him. “I think I jumped too fast. I’m sorry if I did. I couldn’t help it.”
“Don‘t worry about it,” he breathes. “I’m fine. It’s not your fault that your legs aren’t long enough to gracefully make the transition.”
“Shut up!” I quietly yell, slapping his shoulder.
“You’re never going to learn, are you, Dawson? You’ll always pull short jokes on me or tell me that I sound like an English essay for as long as I live, won’t you?”
Luca just grins. He places his arm around me and pulls me in so that my head rests on his shoulder. Of course it doesn’t beat the fluffy cotton pillow my head was sleeping on minutes ago, but his warmth makes up for it.
“Never, Cassadee Clark. I’ll never learn for as long as I live,” he assures me. “You’ll always have me to pick on for picking on you. Try saying that five times fast.”
I let out a peal of laughter as I grip the branch, steadying myself. Even with Luca here to support me, I still fear of falling.
“I’m terrible at tongue twisters! No thanks,” I excuse myself from the challenge.
He picks two apples off of the branch nearest us and hands me one. I smile slightly as a way to thank him whilst he nods in return.
Simultaneously, we breathe on our apples and polish them off with the hem of our shirts before taking a bite.
“Stop copying me!” he jokes, taking a glance at me.
I stick my tongue out at him, the classic Clark thing to do when we want to tease someone.
“It could be the other way around. You could be copying me instead and not know it since we did it at the exact same time,” I defend myself.
He sticks his tongue out at me.
“Hey, now you’re copying me!”
“You didn’t invent that form of mockery, Cass.”
“Touché, mon ami,” I agree, lifting up my apple as if to toast him. “At this rate, we’ll be more in sync than Harlow and Van. We’re not even twins!”
Luca and I continue to eat our apples. My headache lessens a little as I eat, but it’s still very present. We’re like two kids hiding in a tree house, away from any of life’s troubles as we just sit in the tree and admire the plethora of stars in the sky. It’s like how it used to be when we were kids, hiding out in our blanket fort so that nobody could bother us. The only way anyone could enter was if they knew the secret password; no one knew it except us. We used the blanket fort to escape from my siblings and our parents, from the world. It’s nice to be childish and free of worries again by sitting up here with him.
We take turns drawing constellations, pointing at a specific star in the sky, using it as the starting point, and tracing the outline with our index fingers as a pen. We’re not very good at it since neither of us know more than three constellations, nor do we study astrophysics. After a while, we just give up on constellations and trace random shapes, from circles to trees and everything in-between. I even outlined the Tardis from Doctor Who, but Luca doesn’t believe it. He doesn’t think that a group of stars can align in that shape, but it did for me tonight. He claims that I just think that I found a group of stars aligned in the shape of the Tardis, but I know what I saw. He’s just blind.
After a while, I start to shiver. It was silly of me to not even put on a jacket before approaching the window since my grey shirt is made of lightweight fabric. My room does feel like a sauna without central air, by the way. I should have thought about the temperature decrease since it’s night, but I couldn’t think thanks to that stupid headache, which is now almost gone thanks to the cool breeze. I rub my arms, trying to transfer my own heat to that part of my body, but I’m still cold. Seconds later, something warm is placed around my shoulders. I glance at Luca and notice that the jacket he had been wearing is no longer on him. It rests on my shoulders, instead.
“Thanks,” I quietly mumble, pulling the oversized jacket tighter around me so that I can quickly get warmer.
“Any time,” he whispers back, taking my hand in his and giving it a squeeze.
We don’t budge from the tree at all. Instead, we just sit there and enjoy being in each other’s company without doing anything. I rest my head on his shoulder as he points out different stars in the sky and tells me facts about them even though we both know that he knows nothing about astronomy. The most that he knows is all of the solar system malarkey that we learned in high school, and that definitely isn’t enough to impress someone. Seriously, he’s an environmental studies major and our school doesn’t even have an astrophysics course. Everything that’s spewing out of his mouth is complete fluff.
I cuddle up to him as he fishes a out a book from a bag that he brought with him. It’s like he planned for this to happen because there is no way that he would randomly bring a bag full of books or whatever with him if he didn’t think his plan would work. I thought he was going to read me an actual chapter book like The Boxcar Children or one of my favorites, Anne of Green Gables, but after snatching it out of his fingers, I see that it’s a children’s picture book: The Dinosaur That Pooped a Planet.
“What am I? Two?” I jokingly ask. “You know that I like the authors’ music, but really? I left kindergarten ages ago, Luca.”
“You’re never too old for picture books,” he argues, taking the book back and opening it to the first page. “They’re fun, colorful, and sometimes full of life lessons. Besides, this one is centered around poop. Don’t tell me that you’re not excited for me to read this to you, Cass. Deep down, your inner kindergartener is squealing with joy right now.”
By this time, the sky has already become lighter, so I can actually see the pictures on the pages. From the twitter of birds around us and the few joggers out on the streets, it must be the crack of dawn or some time in that vicinity. I turn my attention back from the world around us to Luca, who is looking very much like an elementary school teacher ready for story time as he has the book open. I’m not complaining. If I had an extremely attractive teacher like him growing up, I’d so be into story time, too.
“Danny and Dinosaur like to have fun. Some days they had lots, some days they had none,” Luca reads in a child-friendly tone, as if he actually is a teacher and I’m a student.
I chuckle as he points out Danny and Dinosaur on the page, as if I can’t tell them apart. He can be so silly sometimes.
“One day they were bored, they had no games to play. Danny said, ‘Dinosaur, what games shall we play today? We could mow the lawn. We could tidy the place. We could do our chores or we could go to space…’ ” he continues.
I feel like I’m back at kindergarten, sitting in a circle on a crochet carpet as Luca continues to read aloud the picture book. We’re no longer sitting on an apple tree, but in a classroom with ten students on either side of me as we listen to Mr. Dawson read. I listen intently and with enthusiasm, like I’m five again. I respond to the story the same way that a toddler would, yelling out the big words in bold and marveling over the illustrations. If Luca’s intent was to transport me back in time to make me feel better, then he has definitely succeeded.
I am actually sad when the book is done and he puts it back in his bag.
“Please tell me that you have another book in that bag,” I hoped, pulling on his arm like a child. “Call me crazy, but that was fun. I haven’t had this much fun since we came here.”
He smirks, pulling out the entire The Dinosaur That Pooped series.
I grab an apple from the tree for a snack during the next book reading. Just as I am about to take the first bite, I freeze. My eyes widen in horror as they are glued to the two figures below us. The taller one, a male, has his arms crossed whilst the shorter of the two, a female, has her hands on her hips. I can’t read their faces despite the sun rising from below, but their body language tells me that I am not starting off my day in their good graces. Then again, I never was.
Without taking my eyes off of the couple, I shake Luca’s shoulder. My eyes are still widened in horror when our gazes meet. He looks at me confused at first, so I have to nod my head in the direction of the couple for him to understand what is going on.
“This isn’t good,” he whispers after quickly glancing at them. “I didn’t think this would happen. I should have thought about potentially getting caught. I’m sorry Cass.”
Here I am, out of bed in the early hours of the morning instead of tucked nicely in the comfort of my bed after potentially dying. I should have been in bed all night with the amount of rest I needed to recover, but I’m not. Here I am, sitting on an apple tree with my best friend, who happens to be a guy. And here I am, caught red-handed on this tree with Luca by my parents. It doesn’t matter that we’re both adults and have the right to hang out with each other at this time of day. That’s irrelevant. Everything about the freedoms associated with adulthood is irrelevant. What matters is that I’m still living under my parents’ roof since, as an undergraduate college student, I obviously don’t have the means to move out. Therefore, I am in so much trouble that I can’t fathom what my parents will say when they finally open their mouths.