Mexican Walking Fish

I fell in love with Cindy Vortex on February 22nd.

And when I say love, I mean love-love, the kind of love that kind of hits you in the face and leaves a mark. An almost unpleasant, sickening kind of love. I guess I've always been in love with her, but never like this. It was never this strong.

Exactly one year later, our one-year anniversary of being a couple, while I was laying in bed with Cindy lying next to me, fast asleep, I finally had time to think about. What had happened on that day to make everything change? I hadn't exactly given it much thought - it had just happened.

Flashback

I awoke with a jolt. I sat up in bed, turning to my window. He could hear someone…knocking on the glass. Not just tapping, but full out knocking. I laid back down on the bed with a groan. It was either Sheen and Carl, or Cindy. Judging by the time (two in the morning), it was probably Cindy, because Carl didn't like late night (er, early morning) hang-outs as much as Sheen did.

Throwing off the covers, I stepped into the cold and threw open the window. "What do you want?" I asked sleepily.

"I'm here to kidnap you!" A cheery voice whispered. It was Cindy. I could see her blonde hair by the light of the moon. It was pulled up into a messy ponytail. But that was all I could see.

"Um, how about not?"

"How about you get your ass out here right now?"

I couldn't help but roll my eyes. She may be one of my best friends, but she bosses me around like my mother.

"But…get some decent clothes on first. It's about 45 degrees and slightly windy so it feels about 40. Grab a jacket and a hat and scarf and meet me at the bus stop in ten, got it?"

I was dumbfounded. I mean, sometimes Cindy and I would do crazy things like this - sneak out and eat fast food at one in the morning, or go to the park and just play around. But she had never done something like this before. She was already climbing down the ladder (I didn't remember leaving that ladder there) and jumping to the ground.

Instead of closing the window and getting dressed, I watched her walk away. She was wearing her infamous black pea coat with a purple scarf. I just wanted to jump out his window and catch up to her and figure out where the hell we were going. I usually didn't take well to orders; being used to being in charge, of course. But this time, I resisted the urge to argue and shut the window.

---

Eight minutes later, I was standing at the bus stop next to Cindy. The moment I walked up to her, she handed me a steaming hot cup of coffee, two creamers and no sugar, the way I like it. She had a caramel frappuccino for herself.

"Aren't your hands cold? It's like 40 degrees out here and you're drinking a frozen coffee without gloves on."

She just shrugged and kept sipping her drink. I was - and not for the first time in my life - appalled at the way she could drink coffee. She didn't drink it every day, because she said she was a "poor individual" who couldn't afford such expensive frou-frou drinks every day of her life, but when she did, she would suck the whole drink down in about two minutes.

And then the hyperness began.

"So, can you tell me where we're going?" I asked uneasily.

She shook her head at me and smiled. It was a small, knowing smile. To be honest, it was one of my favorites - her facial features barely moved, but her eyes smiled more than anything else. I couldn't help but smile back.

"You aren't going to take me out to the country and leave me there like you did on Halloween, are you?"

There was that annoying, gurgling noise that indicated that Cindy was finished with her coffee. She started laughing. "No, but you have to admit - that was pretty funny. And I technically didn't leave you…I mean, I left Sheen and Carl with you, too."

I glared at her. "I would rather be in the woods alone than with Sheen and Carl. They're nuts."

"But they're your best friends."

I didn't know what to say back. Usually, when I said something about Sheen and Carl, Cindy would reply with a snide remark, most likely about Sheen's stupidness and Carl's inability to do anything without getting hurt. But when I looked at her, her face doesn't seem to hold any cruelty towards them - and that was just not normal. I know she doesn't hate Sheen and Carl, she just doesn't understand them like I do.

But maybe I was wrong. Maybe she does understand.

"Yeah, they are." I say. I clear my throat and after a few seconds say, "So if you're not going to leave me in the middle of nowhere…where are we going?"

This time, she grinned at me almost predatorily, and I was instantly afraid.

This girl was up to no good.

----

I came to realize that the 2 a.m. bus wasn't really a bus, it was more like a vehicle driven by a heavy-set man who drank a lot of coffee and stopped at random places that weren't even bus stops. He went to people's houses, bars, the opening of dark alleyways, anywhere. I stared at every person who stepped on the bus in awe, but Cindy just nodded or waved. I came to the conclusion that Cindy had been on this bus many times before - which piqued my curiosity, because how many places are there to go at 2 a.m. in Retroville?

Either way, all these people had places to go. Some of them got off whenever the bus driver stopped at stop signs and just started walking down the sidewalk like it was nothing. I figured these people probably had insomnia and needed something to do. Or maybe they were trying to escape from someone. I had no right to ask and therefore, no right to know.

I was getting antsy. It had already been 20 minutes and most of the other people had already gotten off the bus. The driver pulled over to the side of 5th street, the home of many coffee shops and bars. Cindy stood up and looked at me, her arm outstretched towards me slightly.

I took her hand and stand up.

----

She took me to an aquarium. Now, I know that aquariums are closed at 2 in the morning, and I know that Cindy knows this. I just was just to about remind her about this important little factoid when she pulled out a tiny key from her pocket, the kind you used at hotels; it looked like a credit card. She waved it in front of a small, black box by the door and punched a code in.

The door opened immediately.

I gasped. And it wasn't quite manly of me, but I did.

She turned her head and smiled at me deviously. "How did you do that?" I asked, still in shock.

"My uncle works here."

I forced my jaw to close. "Oh. Oh, that makes sense. But you know…I could've gotten us in here in about two seconds flat -"

She rolled her eyes at me pointedly. "I know, Neutron. I know."

I knew that she knew. I was just reminding her.

----

On occasion, I couldn't even believe that Cindy Vortex was real.

I liked to watch her in class, on days that she didn't dress up for school, on days that she was running late and didn't care about her appearance. She'd show up in homeroom with her hair in a messy ponytail, in sweat pants and a t-shirt, caramel frappuccino only half drank. No make-up, all natural. I mean, she looks good all the time. But there was something in the way she could make looking like a bum look amazing.

And no, I didn't just love Cindy because she was as hot as the summer sun.

She is so…expressive. I don't mean her major mood swings; I mean the expressions of her face and the emotions in her eyes. I don't care if that makes me sound like a douche. It's true. She can give you looks that say a million things at once, making you search for that one important message, and sometimes you never know what she's trying to say. But there are times when you just know, and it sort of takes your breath away because you know this look is meant for you and it makes you feel worthy.

Her smiles were worse. I could sit and watch her all day. (And, oh God, I'm such a sap.) I could probably categorize all her smiles. Her happy smile, her fake smile, her mischievous smile. It was damn hard to get one of those smiles, but around me, she seemed to hand them out freely.

As she was leading me through hallway after hallway while holding my hand, I wondered why she even bothered with me. Usually, I didn't have low self-esteem. But Cindy Vortex had a way of intimidating you and making you feel two inches tall. And most of the time, she didn't even try.

But I wasn't really popular or all that good-looking, but she still stuck with me. She could have anyone she wanted. I squeezed her hand, feeling as if this whole situation was unreal. She squeezed back and I was about to say something to ruin the moment when we came to an end to the hallway and she opened a door with the credit-card-key.

She turned to grin at me, letting go of my hand reluctantly, and threw open the door with a flourish. I raised my brows at her humorously and then walked inside.

The door clicked shut behind us softly.

----

Currently, Cindy had her face pressed up to the glass, making cooing noises to a Mexican Walking Fish. I was standing beside her, pretending to look at the exotic sea creatures, but it wasn't anything I've never seen before. I was too busy stealing glances at her. Her features had softened and she was smiling; a happy, carefree smile.

I guess she sensed me looking at her, because she lifted her head from the glass and glanced at me curiously. "What?"

I should've looked away. This was too much. "Nothing."

She blinked but did not look away. The bright blue water just behind the glass, the glass her fingertips were still resting on, was reflecting in her eyes and made them shine brilliantly. I don't think I could've looked away if I wanted to.

I lifted one hand and touched her temple, trailing down the side of her face, brushing back stray hairs. Her eyes closed for a second before opening again, and she took her hands off the glass to rest them on my shoulders, and she lifted herself up on her tip-toes -

"Look, there's a clownfish!"

I was extremely disappointed.

She spun me around and pointed at the glass excitedly. "His name is Jimmy."

I scoffed. "You named a fish after me?!"

She just laughed. "Yes, I did. Little Jimmy likes to swim around all day around his own little piece of coral and follow other little clownfish around. Sometimes they follow him. They go on adventures."

Her expression was nostalgic now. I could feel it too.

"I think I like Little Jimmy."

"I think I like you."

I put my hand up on the glass, right next to Little Jimmy, who swam away, frightened. Cindy pouted. "You scared him away."

It was like she didn't just confess that she liked me.

"You like me?" My voice was higher than usual.

She sighed, as if she were tired. "Yes, I do. A lot. I like you a lot. More than anything. More than caramel frappuccinos." I whirled around to look at her in the face, to see the expression she was wearing while she said this. She looked determined, but nervous, and definitely scared.

Did she think I would reject her?

Did this girl know me at all?

"I mean, I've liked you since like…the fifth grade. I thought it was obvious. I don't know why you look so shocked right now. I don't know why it's so easy to say, either. I guess it's because you're like my best male friend…one of my best friends." She looked at me straight in the eyes and I had to catch my breath. It was one of those looks. The one in a million, meant for you, soul branding looks. "I don't just like you." Her voice was very quiet now. "I think I love you."

I let out a deep breath that I didn't really realize I was holding. I reached for her and she met me halfway, on her tip-toes again and this time I was not disappointed. She wrapped her arms around my neck, curling her fingers around the hairs at the nape of my neck, making me shiver. I wrapped one arm around her waist and my other hand caressed her cheek.

When we pulled back for air, I couldn't help but marvel at the way the water reflecting against her skin made it seem translucent and almost like an illusion; I had to run my fingers down the inside of her arm to make her she wouldn't disappear. She giggled, obviously ticklish. Her eyes were shining.

"I love you too," I whispered.

She grinned at me. "Took you long enough." And then she kissed me again

End Flashback

I heard Cindy breathe in deeply and she shifted next to me. Rolling over, she looked at me with sleepy eyes.

It was only 9 p.m., but it had been a busy day. Being our one-year anniversary, I wanted to take her somewhere special.

Of course, I took her to the aquarium.

And Starbucks. But that was her idea.

"What are you thinking about?" She asked.

I just smiled. "Mexican Walking Fish."

---

OH MY GOD THAT WAS SO FLUFFY. I CAN'T BELIEVE I EVEN WROTE THAT.

But this is slightly like Extraordinary Machine, so maybe I'll have more inspiration to write more stuff now.

I feel slightly self-conscious about this piece but I really like it.

Tell me what you think in a review. (: