Hello everyone! :)
Special thanks to Saso, Pandora, Mercy, Wolfie, Drifter, Shadow, Chica, Mei Wen and Winds for the awesome reviews! :D Thanks to everyone who have read the story too!
To Mei Wen: Yay! Twenty! xD I give you thirty then! Yup, the belly button part is so funny. I wonder how that idea came to me at the very last minute... xD Why did I stop there? Because I didn't know what else to write, haha. I apologize for the cliffhanger, and I hope this one would make up for it, although I feel it is quite short. I hope I can write a longer chapter for the next one. :D YEAH! ALL CROSS DRESSING GIRLS KICK BUTTS! *Psycho hugs Mei Wen back* xD
Wow, I have done a lot of editing work on this chapter, because I had not been sure what's the perfect flow to keep this story going. This is the end result, so I hope this would be okay! :) A little warning about some Shonen-Ai, but it's not Yaoi so... xD
I don't own Half Prince and its characters. Happy reading and don't forget to review! :D
Chapter 36 - Perfect World
"Do you like me?"
That was the same question I had been hearing from all those sappy love dramas on the idiot box. It never failed to piss me off that all those lovey-dovey couples often have a hard time in confessing their true feelings to each other. To make things worse, they only declared their love once one of their lives was hanging by a thread. The only word that can be used to describe that scene was 'pathetic'.
"Oh man… You got to be kidding me. What's so hard about telling the other person about how you feel about him? What an idiot."
That was what I initially thought about ten years ago.
Ten years later, only then I realized that I was that idiot.
All I did was just staring straight at Wen Zi's face. His facial expression was serious and tranquil, with his ghostly-pale blue eyes meeting mine in deep silence and maybe in eager anticipation for my answer. It really puzzled me how he had managed to ask that romantic question to a man without actually feeling awkward about it.
Was he really okay with the idea of falling in love with another man, a male creature just like him?
I wasn't okay with it. After all, wasn't I just hiding under a virtual man's skin, wearing his artificial mask of masculinity, and pretending to be the perfect epitome of manhood?
"I don't like men," I said.
He tilted his head with a teasing smirk, "Are you sure?"
"What? You think I lied to you?" I let out another sarcastic snort, "If I really fancy you, I wouldn't mind being your husband in Second Life. No nonsense here."
I scratched my non-itchy chin. I had already thought over and over about it, but still I wasn't sure whether the term 'husband' was the appropriate choice. If there were a marriage between two men, wouldn't it make both of them 'husbands'?
Geez, I got to ask my best pal about this. Even if he's only interested in girls, I know he is very highly-knowledgeable in the field of forbidden love.
Wen Zi's sudden hearty chortle shook me out of my reverie.
"I take your word for it, Psycho."
I widened my eyes at him, while he slugged a big mouthful of the rice wine as if he was making a toast. He then lifted his flask up above his head, his misty eyes gazing meaningfully at the rainbow-coloured ladybird crawling under the flask.
"But it's unfortunate that this game doesn't acknowledge same-sex marriages…"
I blinked my eyes a couple of times at him, whose sad smile was still clear in the stillness of the cold night. That fact had momentarily slipped off my mind, despite that it was a common fact known to me.
Well, not only to me, but to every human being on the third rock from the Sun. After all, aren't same-sex marriages somehow against the law of nature?
"I've clarified about it with the GM yesterday," Wen Zi's finger poked gently at the bug, which then went fluttering away into the unknown darkness.
"Second Life would have been banned if it promotes homosexuality."
With my eyes still focusing on the wishful smile on his handsome face, I pursed my lips together, unsure of what to say or how to react at his words. Struggling to find the right words to say, I averted my eyes away from him and leaned against the rail of the old bridge. I gazed at the river glowing softly before my very own eyes.
That vague silvery reflection of the moon on the water was almost exactly like the one in the sky. Strangely, it looked even more beautiful than the moon I saw in real life itself. I smiled to myself in a sardonic way.
Despite how advanced our technology has become, no one could possibly create an ideal world. There were some things that remained unchanged. People were still fighting for their rights to live the way they always dream of.
The way we dream of, Wen Zi.
That was how imperfect our life has always been. Wasn't that the reason why Second Life was created? Wasn't that the reason why we all are here?
"What do you expect? This game is ninety-percent realistic, but you want to know something even more shocking, Wen Zi?"
I glared bitterly at the perfectly-mirrored reflection on the calm river, before letting my gaze fall to my bare feet on the cold freezing ground.
"Nothing's ever real here. Everything is fake."
"I beg to differ, Psycho. Nothing has ever felt real like this before."
Unable to accept his plain ignorance over the difference between 'reality' and 'virtual reality', I glowered sideways at him, somehow preparing myself to retaliate if he were to pick a verbal fight with me.
However, it was only to discover that his aquamarine blue eyes were already set on mine. What was even more surprising was his face was already so close to mine I could smell the charcoal smeared all over on his cheeks. I held in my breath, taking one step back to make my escape.
Before I could even make the first move, he gripped my arm firmly in his hand, forcing me to listen to his drunken voice and look at his solemn face.
"For all my whole life, I've always been living a life of the dead, but ever since you've come around, I've never felt so much... So much alive..."
With a light smile tugging at his lips, his moist dreamy eyes lit up, prompting my heart beat so impossibly fast I thought I would die of a sudden heart-attack. I got to cool myself down. Trying to focus on something else, I quickly looked at his throat.
I had made things even worse.
I watched his Adam's apple bobbing up, and then down. That really freaked the hell out of me because it was just the perfect reminder that both of us were men.
"If…" He was voicing his words slowly, "If only you'll give me the chance to marry you in real life… and make you happy… I'm going to be the happiest man alive."
I stared blankly at him. Were my ears already full of ear wax, or did he say that he wanted to marry Hei_Psycho in Real Life?
Was that the reason why he wanted to search for him in the campus all along?
Even if my avatar was real, he hasn't even graduated yet!
He hasn't even entered the FIFA World Cup qualification rounds, for Buddha's sake!
I knew I was left with no other choice. I grabbed one fist full of his robe and punched him in the face so hard my heart hurt.
Breathing hard, I was hoping even harder that I had knocked some sense into him.
"Don't bullshit me! Aren't you going to marry your fiancée? And why the hell you want to make me happy?"
"Because you always make me happy. Till the day that I die… I love you, Psycho. "
Before I could even digest that last line, that gay elf held my face and pushed his lips against mine. My eyes went wide open, as soon as I felt the morbid moisture on his swollen lips, recognizing the strong metallic taste on my tongue, wondering why he was so in love with my male counterpart, when all I ever gave him was pain, pain, and more pain.
I rubbed my fingers, while chanting a healing mantra in my mind. As I brought my warm bluish palm closer to his bruised cheek, I could see how peaceful his closed eyes were, how calm and steady his breathing was, how relaxed his arm that clasped around my neck. It was like he wasn't in any pain at all...
"But how could I love him back? I'm not even a-"
"Are you hinting indirectly to me..." That reeking sound of sickness in my best friend's voice interrupted my inner thought.
"That you don't mind being a gay if you were a guy? Do you know how disgusting you are?"
"You're so right, Ming. I wouldn't mind being a gay if I were a guy. Hey pal, you wouldn't mind being my best man for my wedding, right?"
If only I was brave and bold enough, I would have said that aloud straight to his face. I wouldn't have cared what he and other people would think. I wouldn't have been bothered not being 'straight' and 'normal'. As long as everyone was happy and no one got hurt, nothing else would have mattered. Aren't I right?
Yeah right. That kind of happily-ever-after fairytale would only happen if we were living in a perfect world...
And I doubted our world would be perfect at any time soon.
It is time to wake up.
I pulled myself away from him as though I got burned. His unblinking eyes stared at me, stunned, yet his lips were parted open slightly, almost into a smile.
All I could do was to look down at his mage's sandals. I would never want to look at his throat again.
Perhaps I could have been the one who was drinking too much…
"I'm sorry. I should have requested for your permission, Psycho."
His hand held mine so firmly I felt so uncomfortably-girly inside, "But my feelings for you are true."
"True?" I swiftly pushed his hand away, "I tell you what's true. To tell you the truth, Wen Zi…"
Despite how hard my heart was throbbing, I forced myself to look straight at him in the eye, wishing he wouldn't be jumping off a high building or into the deep ocean once he had heard it. It wouldn't be worth it at all for anyone to die over someone like me.
If he would hate me for the rest of his life after this…
"I'm made of double X chromosomes in real life."
I can bear the hatred. I think.