Chapter 22 – read, relish, review. Thanks.

It's 2012 bitches!

Disclaimer: I do not own Pokémon. All rights reserved to the owners. However, I do own the plot of this story and any OC's.


Paul's POV

"Paul?"

I felt a massive lump of saliva scratch its way down my throat. I winced. Why the hell would I think to call him up? Dumbass.

I was currently talking to my brother about my thoughts. I wasn't entirely sure what led me to do something so stupid, but my mouth was somehow attached to the receiver of the phone, unwilling to let go and blabbering incoherent phrases of what I thought I could never posses: feelings. It wasn't only my feelings though, it was something of much more indefinite value. It was the necessity, the burning obligation to report to my all-knowing brother of past sins, which I could now barely recognize. Although, I wasn't sure how I'd tell him the incident of being sapped into making-out with some, random blonde girl who then proceeded to show me her dick. It was five in the morning and my inability to sleep, infused with my inability to reason my affliction of love and confusion probably made me do it. He was brother and that sibling credibility made me confine to him. It warranted some asinine kind of trust it in him. It was a foolish thing to even enact upon and I instantly regretted it.

I heard him yawn on the receiving end, an elaborate, long verbal cavity of fatigue that nearly exhausted myself from just hearing my brother over exaggerate the feat. He hummed to himself various melodies until he remembered that I was still on the line. My brother is an idiot.

"So Paulie, it's been awhile since I've talked to you! You should call more often, but really at five a.m.? Is my little brother having difficulty sleeping? You should drink some hot milk! Would you like me to read you a story? Or are you having problems in Unova with Dawn….sexual problems?" he asked, so obviously alienating the reason I called.

My eyes glazed out into the window of my dorm bedroom and glowered as realization suck in: the tedium of the night had vanished and Reggie caused its departure. Damn it.

My chest rose up and down slowly as I tried to even out my breathing. It was as if a mental shaft pierced my flesh and all my blood seeped out. I took one last breath then responded, knowing well that despite the disparity of myself to an immediate audience, I would be fully embarrassed by the approaching conversation, "Reggie," I sighed and then continued, "I have a… ugh… problem."

"It's kind of early to solve problems, but I always love a good challenge," he responded back too ecstatically. I scowled at his unreasoned enthusiasm. How does Maylene even like him? The only person who's just as weird as him is Blondie… they should go off and butt fuck the hell out of each other. Reggie will get the chance too since that blonde shit finally went back to Sinnoh.

I frowned on the phone's metal base and lightly broke the barrier that my bangs were creating around my forehead with my breathing. My pupils darted around the room in need of finding closure in some inanimate object. Failing to find something to distract me from a looming headache and aching ego, I fixated my concentration on the beige colored ceiling. I groaned and rolled on the side of my bed, lumping the satin sheets in one huge adhesive-like mess.

Sustaining my will to stay on the phone was difficult yet I somehow did. "Listen, Reggie, I don't want you to give me any crap or gushing or just fucking anything, okay?"

There was a jagged moment of silence. "Ugh, fine?" he said with purposed implication of uncertainty.

"I think that I might be falling for Troublesome," I breathed. I was quick to the point and wanted a response just as fast, but his failure to immediately reply made me restless. There was more unbearable silence and the only thing that interrupted the vague ambiguity of the conversation was Reggie's coughs. Eventually he responded back.

"…Paullllllll! That is wonderful news! You must be getting some real action with her for that to have happened. What have you guys been up to? When did you confess, you little purple haired harlot? I must know all the details! Maylene will just love this. You should tape a video of the two of you doing it and send it to me. You've really hit the jack pot man! I knew you two were dating, but you feel in love too? You need to get your ass back here in Sinnoh!"

"Damn it, you imbecile, don't twist my words into something else. I didn't fucking say any of that. If you're not going to help me with my problem, then I'm going to hang up," I snapped.

My eyes withdrew from the wall and bit by bit the layer of skin from my eyelids enclosed on my pupils. My head was on fire and attempting to darken his words into a void of nonexistence was quite difficult; absence from his talking was difficult, from his somehow tangible presence was difficult. His words stung. They rung through my head and prickled my pressure points. I rolled around in my bed in agony.

He continued gushing about the new scrap of information, but I couldn't focus anymore.

I was cornered in a vein of blurring abyss. My emotions were burning and my reflexes stiffened. The pain was unusual. I strove not to feel it, to somehow drive it to the unseen bliss of my mind, but yet I craved it. It was rare and unexplainable. Why had Reggie triggered this? This emotion that appeared out from under my… heart.

"Paul? Paul! Are you even listening to me?" I heard him say clearly.

I sat up in my bed and ruffled my hair with innate precision. There was still a pang of detachment that ripped down my spine and I didn't want to sit there and dream or ponder the various possibilities. Indifference wasn't an answer either. Confrontation would be the sole breach of discovery.

"Hey, Reggie, I'll call you back later," I said hanging up, ignoring his loud, now angry, protests.

My cell phone slipped out from the palm of my hand as I left my room. My steps were shallow and daunted by the looming encounter. There was always a chasm of excellence and superiority when I approached any task and yet this was the complete opposite. I was nervous, upset at any volatile flicker of reality. My hands rattled and rifted through the cleavages of air. I wasn't sure what I was doing, but it somehow felt right. It had no pretext, fueled by solely my natural emotions.

I had eventually reached my seemingly once out of reach destination. I was anxious. My foot loudly rammed the base of her room's archway upon awkwardly slugging myself in. My entrance was horrific; any elegance or fluidity that my actions once had was gone. I stood still for a brief juncture of time before I saw her.

The moon's lambency was intense. It cradled the smooth edges of her distinctive features, adroitly lightening her pink lips and cheeks. Her hair was despairingly curled and swayed amongst the whiteness of her pillow with a few rebellious, idiosyncratic strands laying against her porcelain skin. A small pout graced her lips as a sole hand was rested underneath her cheek, a barrier between her skin and the white cushion. Her body was daintily laying within the confines of the finicky satin sheets, her legs breaking rules of bedroom protocol and hanging off the side, exposed and bare. The vast expanse of her bed was piercing through my skull, calling me hungrily as if animate. She was wearing a short pink nightgown that loosely held her body and moved dramatically with her every nocturnal reflex.

I continued to stare at her in utter silence. I was so oddly fascinated with a girl that I knew the near entirety of my twenty-three years yet largely disregarded and ignored. I lived in a dorm and attended the same boarding school with her for nearly a whole year and still failed to be so mesmerized. I looked at awe. Her image was so quantitatively toxic. My mind was chaotically rushing with pulses of opacity and trying to deny it was a lie.

I slowly advanced towards her. My feet stopped when they reached the frame of her bed. I saw her fully up close, my shadow taking its guard over her face. Small breaths in and out fled her mouth, heavy and sweet, accentuating the flavor of her mint toothpaste now filling the air that we shared. Her closed eyes looked so casted away and so bilious to her immediate surroundings. It was as if she was in another realm of life, dreaming in the heaven of earth, looking so indescribably peaceful. Slightly dithering at her current dreams, I left a frown touch my lips. I never truly dreamt. Nightmares of my past or extreme vacuity taunted my nights. But then there were also occasional, organic scenes of escaping the police for unknown reasons or sporadic scenes of being chased by Blondie naked.

I gently sat beside her body on the bed. I reached a hand out and stroked her cheek. Her skin was so velvety and perfect. There was a light breeze that escaped out from under the slightly breached window and caressed her body, riveting a small shiver from her as well. She moved faintly. I calmly loitered myself down to her face until we were inches apart. I looked at her sleeping image incredulously. The many raspy, steady breaths that slithered from her lips were heating up my face and the closer I got the more so. Her every passive, angular movement, yet random and slothful, was glorified in a sleepily state of bliss. I gazed at her once more before I closed my eyes and our unnecessary gap. My lips smoothly skimmed her skin as my right hand tempted her body closer to mine and my opposing hand dove into her long hair. My lips then grabbed hers fully. She was unresponsive in her deep slumber.

I climbed on top her bed, with smooth precision, and placed both my hands on her cheeks carefully. I drew her close and taste of her lips was deadly. She took up my entire mind, images occupying every corridor of my brain. My body wasn't simply lingering over her anymore, it was consuming her. Then she opened her eyes. It was the finest blue. One look and she stopped time.

She lurched backwards nervously and stared at me dubiously. "Paul, what are you doing?"

Then the thought rung through my head: what if she doesn't feel the same? What if all her hope and mental problems prevent her from truly falling? What if she's too scarred? What if I just make a complete jackass out of myself? What if she still doesn't trust me entirely?

Fuck.

I mean we are dating. So If I go into her room in the middle of the night and start kissing her sleeping body, what's wrong? Ugh, no matter the circumstance, that still sounds like rape. Dumb ass. Why would I even think to talk about my feelings with her? There are too many factors and it's too risky, especially with her intricate and fragile complex. And waking her up in the middle of the night was stupid...she is obviously in a bad mood. Dumb ass, dumb fucking ass...

I felt stupid and embarrassed and I wasn't sure how to get out of the situation. I was still sitting on top of her bed, partly on her body so I figured getting off her would probably be my best first move. As I removed myself from her bed, I couldn't make eye-contact and just as I was about to leave, she grabbed my hand. I still didn't make eye-contact being all too red in the face and awkward in the head.

"Paul, what were you doing?" she asked softer than before.

Then she pulled me into her against my will and made me look her in the face. Her hands were soft on mine, but her eyes were accusing as they narrowed and slimmed. She didn't let go and wanted an answer. That made me uneasy. I wasn't even sure why she wanted an answer. I thought she would just get all flirty and continue what I started, but that wasn't the case at all.

My brain started to fizz uncontrollably at my crippling inability to come up with some fabricated excuse. The palms of my hands started to get sweaty and I gulped. Fuck, just say something!

"Ugh… ugh… I was… cleaning your lips?" I stuttered tensely.

Her brows critically rose. "So you came in my room during the later hours of the night, right before I have to wake up to get ready for class, to just… cleanmy lips? What does that even mean?"

I escaped her grasp and replied, "Yeah…" Her hands fell to the rims of the bed and seemed lonely yet her face was full of agitation. I wanted, longed, to grab her dainty hands and force her back down to the bed with myself on top of her small body, but that would have probably only worsened the situation. Without noting her presence, or replying to her confused demeanor, I immediately left the room and went back into my own room. My time in my room, however, was short lived as well. I snatched my phone from its place on my bed and then left.

I exhaled deeply with a sigh. My breath was so tangibly visible in the vast darkness that the light pang of exposed whiteness seemed corrupted under the bleak backdrop. The enormity of the sky seemed all too demure in the eeriness of the night. It was mocking me. I walked around aimlessly in the dark, confused, humiliated and somewhat hurt. Things didn't make sense and I didn't care to try to make sense of them. My head felt numb, my fingers frozen, and my eyes sore. There was this dubious malaise of an unsatisfactory discovery. It was torturous. I glanced at my cell phone and sighed.

5:15

Forty-five minutes before class started and being the last few weeks of my schooling, I couldn't ditch today. Damn it.

I fell to the gravel of the ground and leaned up against a tree closing my eyes. My every muscle was tense. The restricted, nearly disjointed and unexplained over-strained, feeling of my interconnected bones made moving an inhibition. There was this weird feeling that penetrated in the pit of my stomach and it made me want to vomit.

I felt fucking terrible.

The feeling slowly grew into a deathly, unamused animosity. I was angry at myself for being such a moron. I was angry at the fucking Unova government for keeping me here. I was angry at my supposed, unreasoned deductions. I was angry at impulsive decision. And, lastly, I was angry at my own darkness for humiliation.

I looked onto the horizon in irritation. The sun was rising and the immediate surrounding was changing from the deep blacks and blues of the night into a mixture of honey tinted orange and yellow for the approaching day. The sky looked so fucking cheerful and it had absolutely no alleged reasons behind it. What in the hell motivated the infinite vastness of the sky to display such exuberance? It was disgusting.

I sighed loudly. Why does my life always have to be so damn difficult?

I glanced back at my phone again. Two minutes had passed without my notice. I sat in silence for another two minutes. I continued to look back at the phone like I was waiting for an important call and in somewhat of a matter, I was. I thought Reggie might have called me back eventually and as each minute swelled by, nothing happened. I frowned as the same feeling of sibling credibility was installed within my conscious from earlier, prompting me to call. I gulped in regret. It's not like I have anything better to do and just maybe my dumb ass brother just might propose a solution...or make things ten times worse...I really could care less anymore...

"Hey, Paul! What happened earlier? The line just went dead. Are you alright?" he blabbed worriedly.

My brows roughly caused little wrinkles around my eyes. I slowed my breathing down dramatically to prevent myself my lashing out. "Listen Reggie," I breathed deeply again and continued with a barely audible cough, "I just," I sighed again, "I am going to ask a question and I need a straight answer."

"Sure," he replied, finally acknowledging my distress, hopefully for the better.

"How do I know if Troublesome... ugh.. has the same feelings that I to do?" I asked, unsure how to state the question.

He giggled, in complete oblivion of all seriousness. "You little floozy, are you in love?"

"What! No, that is not what I said. If anything, it's the opposite. Now Reggie just listen to what I say, alright? It is simple."

"Whatever, I'm not going to try to convince you of your sexuality, so I'll just give you some tips!"

I rubbed my temple and itched my ear. "Reggie, that doesn't make sense. There's no need to question my damn sexual orientation because I like Troublesome."

"Paulie, I'm older and I know more. Okay, so to maybe help you, you should say a series of particular words and see what her reaction is and have her say a one word response."

"How the hell would that help me?"

I sighed and I knew that from the other end of the line he was probably rolling his eyes. "It will, trust me."

I scoffed, "What should the words be then?"

He paused momentarily. "That I am not quite so sure right as this very moment, but give me an hour and I will tell you the exact words! This sort of thing requires research, concrete research so I'll get right on it!"

"Dickwad, I have class soon so don't call me. Alright?"

"Fine. Bye Paulie!"

I hung up. My eyes wavered momentarily over to the sunrise playing out so loudly and vividly then got up to leave. My pace slowed. I was frustrated at all the various complications of my life. The crunching of my shoes nosily echoed through the air. My head was hung low and my mound of annoyance was practically palpable, practically creating its own lethal radiance. Everything was in a dangerous state. My emotions were capricious and my addiction, the cruel desirability was taking over me. I was fucking dangerous.

I, for the smallest fragment of time, stopped at the dorm to change into my uniform and grab my stuff then headed to class. Three back to back classes with Troublesome was what I was about encounter. It had been the normality of the life for the past months, but it felt so foreign and new. Two classes where I sat directly beside her, one other in a far off void from her in the vicinity of an ultra modern classroom, and the other completely without her. History of Unova was the first class, the one where I was seated away from her. A subject that I had become accustomed to the classroom's protocol of monotony and freely allowed my mind to drift upon different issues of my day, but would always lapse back upon Troublesome's too large farness from me. I supposed it would be a good way to start the day, a day to which I would not be myself, away from her to calm myself, but it still sounded… off-putting.

I scoffed as I entered the classroom. I wanted to look at her, knowing well that she was already there and staring at me, but I prohibited myself. I sat my ass down on a cold chair and fixed my eyes upon the big white board.

The near majority of the class duration was spent reviewing for the end year exams. I didn't pay any attention for the simple reason that Unova history is easy as fuck. The origin of the region was just an urban legend of two dragons and not having the capability to memorize it is pretty bad.

The time went swelled by quickly. I preoccupied myself by consecutively checking my phone to see if I received any new texts from Reggie. It was nauseating and quickly became automatic, without really being conscious. The entire class period I didn't receive anything from him and was slightly irritated. The period finally ended as the professor excused us. I grabbed my stuff and left, not caring to talk to any of my peers or waiting for Troublesome. I walked to my next class in a heavy sweat. It was fucking annoying. Why the hell was being in a thick sheet of sweat so demanding on my body?

As I walked, I thought about my next class, my advanced placement Pokémon breeding course. I frowned. Damn it. Well, maybe today can be the one day where nothing weird or abnormally perverted goes on?

I stopped at the bathroom before entering the class, knowing well to wipe the greased slate of shine off of my forehead. The sweat literally was molding my hair to my skin. My head was damn disgusting. How the hell was it even possible to sweat that much?

Refreshed and clean, I proceeded to my next class and sat down next to a silent Troublesome. It was then that I got a text message from Reggie.

From: Reggie

To: Paul

Okay, this is the list of words. Just tell her it's a game or something and that she has to say the first thing that pops up in her head for each word. Make sure to write her every response down! I'll analyze the results later!

Words in THIS order: elixir, attractive, heart, red, whore, murmuring, poop, diamond ring, need, lifetime, loyalty, poop, infatuation, breasts, toxic cookies

I read the words over again and gulped.

What the fuck are these words going to prove? Reggie is an imbecile, but he better be right.

When the class finally commenced, the professor's plan for the period was revealed in entirety – a too hopeful schedule for concrete review and questions. Being intellectually gifted, review was unnecessary and pointless. I blew my bangs, which were still sticky, and discreetly gazed at Troublesome. Her posture and presence were very solemn. She was very fixated on the professor's every word, taking notes and making inquisitive pouts at his deliberately satirical questions. I started to feel a little envious and jealous.

I was aggravated. If was if the classroom was belatedly, ever so tauntingly, caving in on my being. The slightest, shameless whisper gauged at Troublesome was so languorously infuriating that it made any cautious, but entirely deliberate glaze over her body ruthless. My head was burning and everything felt strange. Her guileless laughter that attracted too many smiles, her meticulous posture that was replicated throughout the class, her socio pathetic pouts that intrigued the professor, and her – increasingly sickening – need to question all became so enthralling and as time progressed, it became more so. Her presence had never before been so potent and attempting to guide myself out of the self-induced trace proved to be difficult. I slowly came in contact with this growing devilish monster because of it.

I flicked my pen cap, not caring that it flew somewhere unknown in the room, and looked at her sharply. Her hand was so daintily gripping a pen that gracefully wrote various letters and numbers onto a once blank slate of paper. Her face was under a seemingly untouchable state of sincerity. I wanted to break it.

My reluctance to speak to her had left; there was simply infinite audacity there now. I, in what could only be described in a jackass matter, bluntly scribbled Reggie's words on a large sliver of paper while I leaned back in my chair and freely allowed a hand to curl around Troublesome's chair. When she turned her face towards me, everything became so painfully slow. Strands of her hair twisted inch by inch through clefts of air and then encroached upon her fair skin as her eyes blinked widely. An eyebrow arched critically. She frowned and then everything crashed back to its normal, throbbing speed.

"What Paul?" she said in a barely present whisper, eyeing the professor so he wouldn't catch her talking.

I tripped over my words like there were rocks in my mouth. My concentration was horribly ruined by her cherry lips. They were so indisputably distracting. Soft, pink clouds plastered on her face that I could only now think to rip them off with my own dry ones. How had I never noticed their delicate shape and form when she spoke? Who the hell was I to fucking disregard her lips?

A shiver noticeably shook through my body as I looked at her. I was losing my sanity.

She rolled her eyes despairingly and resumed her note-taking. I was irritated at my irresolute distraction by her simple lips. Fucking moron… what is happening to me? What is going on? I can't understand anything anymore.

I wisely decided to avoid all contact, sit properly in my chair, and just merely ask each word in an unwavering denotation.

"Troublesome…," I breathed.

Out of my peripherals, I saw her unwrap the pink pen clutched in her hand and lightly turn towards me with a sigh. "What?" she said with cold exasperation.

I dived right in, not caring about the repercussions. "What comes to your head when I say elixir?"

There was a serrated flash of silence where she returned to her usual stance of taking notes and looking at the professor deeply. I thought that she was going to just ignore me and she did. Deliberate, personified ignorance of my presence – it was uncalled for; it was annoying. She bit her lips, then gently parted them, and spoke, "Paul, just don't try to distract me right now. I need to review for the end year exams. I don't have your IQ." Her words were sharp and poignant. I hated it.

There were other various slots of time where I tried to ask again, but she continued to turn me down. I had two options to dither between: she was still mad at me for cleaning her lips, which was the less probable and desired option, or that she actually wanted and needed to review; either way, it was all irrelevant to me.

A large majority of the period was spent so viciously running through pages of a textbook that, to the naked eye, would be impenetrable to the brain. Every student trying too hard to vicariously inhabit the mind of the writer of said textbook, mindlessly cramming scrapes of information that would only be forgotten faster that memorized. It was sickening. The void of falsely tricking the mind to memorize information for only bursts of time. It wasn't learning. Troublesome was a prime candidate of the task, nearly taking pleasure in attacking the professor with questions that should have been obvious in the first semester.

I sighed loudly in impatience. Everything was amplified in my eyes. I took notice to things that I would have otherwise disregarded. It was disturbing, but fortunately, the class was over quickly.

I left with Troublesome by my side, walking in unadulterated silence. I was perplexed at the situation, but more at my inability to cope. Our next class together was our advance placement artistry class. We had already finished our latest black and white acrylic portrait of a designated part of Unova and I was unsure as to what our next project would be. While walking, moving in sync with one another, our hands lightly touched. It was chilling yet went unnoticed by her. I scowled as we entered the classroom.

We sat in front of our easels awaiting the professor's instructions. Things were chaotic at first, but slowly dimmed to near tranquility. We were told that our final exam would be an abstract composition of a still-life feeling that could be naturalistic or representational. However, the more deliberate the narrative content, symbolism, or controversy, the more points. Bearing that in mind, the bulk of the period was dedicated to be spent on technique and strokes individually. It was the perfect time for the plan.

Troublesome was delicately painting amongst the white canvas with gentle fixation and grace. She didn't look at all angry, somber, or provoked or any combination of the three. She was simply at peace.

"Troublesome," I said sharply, but stopped, wanting to change my question. "Are you …mad at me?" I wasn't nervous for her looming response. I somehow knew that she actually wasn't livid, but wanted an auditory response for reassurance. I sat on my wooden chair and merely waited in question.

She put her brush down amid her many paints and looked at me, a fissure of air zipping out of her pursued lips. "No," she paused with a sigh as she made eye-contact, then continued, "I'm just really nervous, Paul. Do you realize that if we don't pass all of our exams that we won't get our guarantee back here? The whole contract won't even be in existence? This whole schooling process would have been a waste of time?"

I abruptly interrupted, content that she somehow forgot the late night incident, "Troublesome, stop it. Worrying will do absolutely fucking nothing, alright? Besides, you have me and I already know all the content that will be on the exams so it's not like it'll be hard to get a tutor."

My words didn't faze her. She continued to look at me with those wavering sapphire orbs, scrunched brows, and quivering lips. The normalcy of her stubborn, fluorescent personality was replaced with an indecisive, very tentative demeanor and it was revolting. I scowled at her behavior and temporarily forgot about Reggie's plan.

"Listen, just breathe and focus on what's on hand right now, okay? What is so terrible about your artistic skills?" I asked, attempting to lower my voice to a comforting whisper. It was far from and became more of an insulting threat.

"I don't know. Why don't you tell me since your so perfect Paul?" she snapped.

I winced at her sharp, unexpected reply.

She dropped her eyes and tugged on her hair inconsolably, almost regretfully. "Sorry, I'm just really stressed."

My eyes sparked loudly as I thought of something. "Why not to alleviate some of that stress and get your mind on something else, I tell you a serious of words and you tell me the first thing that comes to your mind?"

She nodded.

I took out the scrap of paper that contained all of Reggie's words from earlier and smirked. I grabbed my pen and spoke, "Okay first word is elixir."

"Sweet cure," she breathed in a sultry connotation.

I gulped and felt slightly nauseous, not entirely knowing why. She didn't even know what this was for. She didn't even ask. A stinging sense of exposure ran over my hand as I nervously wrote her response down on the scrap of paper that was meekly placed between the slots of my fingers. It was as if that she somehow knew that this was a test and prepared her answers earlier; however, that was impossible. Maybe it was her demeanor or the tone of her voice or her mannerisms or facial expression or my own paranoia and idiocy, but it all felt odd. It didn't matter though. My will to care was gone. I just wanted to know the truth behind her feelings. I continued.

I kept my eyes on the crumpled morsel of paper and resumed, "Attractive."

"You."

My hand trembled hysterically and my crotch felt uncomfortable in my suddenly seemingly too tight pants. Fuck. I began to sweat. "H-Heart," I stuttered.

"Red," she said instantly, starting to like the game.

I looked at her incredulously. Any amount of anxiety seemed to have evaporated and instead there was this bubbling desire to say the correct words. She rung in a few defiant hairs behind her ear and looked at me attentively, all too differently than a moment ago. I looked back at her and felt that familiar thirst to kiss her. To combat the destructive emotions, I took my eyes off her and continued reluctantly.

"Ugh, red," I whispered, eyes plastered to the now unrecognizable scribbles on my paper.

She edged her body slowly off the chair and closer to me, our knees now touching. It was electrifying. "Your cheeks," she murmured as she leaned further into me.

Everything was becoming a blur. My mind was receding back into a tangible oblivion as I felt her breaths consuming my air. I shakily jotted her response down and silently cursed myself.

"Whore," I said, the word lusciously flicking off my tongue and into the crisp clefts of air. She narrowed her eyes mysteriously at my ravenous, lustful smirk. She left her sincere place on the wooden stool, painting drifting to zones of her mind that were now beyond reach. She gently approached her place on my lap. My mind was no longer tramped in the doldrums of the classroom. It was in a realm of infinite possibilities for sex. The need to review was now a moribund morsel and I had allowed it; I wanted it. I looked straight in her cosmic spheres of blueness and just as I was about to make a move, she spoke, "You."

I awkwardly retracted on my seat, sweat dripping down my face and eyes wincing. Why the hell does she think of me for whore?

In a flash of second, I was back at the classroom. Any thoughts or fantasies about sexual trajectories were gone and the pandemonium of the classroom's artistry was the sole thing on my mind. I glanced at Troublesome and said the next word with any sexual connotation, "Murmuring."

The professor was now eyeing our very sensual position with inquisition – seemingly fuming at our actions – making Troublesome withdraw from her place on my lap. Once she was back in front her own easel, she responded with a wink, "Sexy."

I ignored my temptation to succumb to her flirtatious advances. I looked at the next word on the list and grimaced. "Poop," I said in disgust. The bridge of her nose crinkled delicately. Her teasing pout was swapped for a face full of levity and an unquestionably cute laugh. She didn't give a damn to question my word choice and replied simply, "Brown."

I rolled my eyes at the increasing absurdity of Reggie's once unfathomable plan. What could any of this possibly show? Why waste time doing this when I could actually have helped Troublesome's the end year project? I figured that since I had already started the mess, that I might as well finish it, regardless of the ridiculousness.

I took a deep breath and glanced at the next word. It was a word that actually, for once, made sense to be on the list. In truth, it was the only word that was really essential on the list. I needed to know her answer. It wasn't because diamond rings alluded to wedding bells, it was because the foundation of diamond rings were based off of value and trust – two things that I could only hope Troublesome stored in me.

"Diamond ring," I said quietly, closing watching her reactions and facial expressions.

She didn't immediately respond back. Her face contoured to a variation of expressions, some a combination of others and some an evolution from others, and my rage amplified because of it. I just wanted a fucking answer and it shouldn't have taken an eternity. What the hell came to her mind when she thought of 'diamond ring'?

The edges of my paper creased and crushed against my crumbled wrists. The pen held in my writing palm was forcibly being infused to my skin and despite the pain, it went unnoticed. I winced at my own impatience. Shit.

When her lips finally parted, I held my breath. "Ugh…," she said uncertainly, as if coming to some ultimate conclusion, and then, "Shiny."

I slouched, arms becoming limb, as my lips mirrored the same murky sensation.

I rubbed my temple and let out a lengthy sigh, all too exasperated and lugubrious. She noticed my immediate demeanor change, but instead of so freely offering her the opportunity to question it, I read the followed word, "Need."

"Pokémon coordinating."

I wrote her answer down and then subtly glanced at the clock. I must've stupidly let time pass by without notice as the class was coming to a close. I silently cursed myself, for what was at least the tenth time today. Parting to different classes – her Pokémon coordinating and myself Pokémon battling – it was indisputable to complete the absurd questioning now; saving it for later was not an option since wasting insane amounts of time was a part of the plan.

"Okay, I'm just going to say the rest of the words all at once because I want to get this done."

She didn't question my immediate change, just robotically agreeing.

"Lifetime, loyalty, p-poop," I faltered slightly, wondering why Reggie put poop twice on the list. I cleared my throat and carried on, "Infatuation, breasts, toxic cookies."

"Success, rare, nasty, you, round, Barry," she chirped.

Hearing the 'you' for infatuation made me slightly restore some amount of dignity in my bond with Troublesome. She's infatuated with me. I tensed up in a mixture of bewilderment and exhilaration. Perhaps out of the all dull display of idiocy from the stupid test, that one response was all I needed.

When the class ended, we parted different paths for our designated fields. I would have walked Troublesome to her coordinating class location, like normally, but I didn't. I needed to be alone.


"That class was a fucking trip," I mumbled to myself as I walked towards the battling field. My thoughts jumped from one thing to another erratically. Everything had felt so… oddly strange with Troublesome. It wasn't her though, no; it was me. It was my crippling inability to clearly confront my feelings and emotions. "Why the hell do I have to always be so confused when I'm with Troublesome? Why do I have to go through this?"

The animate exchange with myself and my conscious was soon becoming bored – not finding conclusive answers was becoming boring. I took out my phone and texted Reggie all of Troublesome's answers, not really caring anymore if he gave me definite results.

I arrived at the field early and decided to actually use the extra time efficiently. I called out all my Pokémon and began my usual training regimen. I watched them closely and perfected their every move. While I was watching, I felt bitter. It was gruesome recognizing that I had abused – practically, temporary replaced – the normality of my severe training for thick motives of furthering an unknown relationship with Troublesome. It was asinine to let my Pokémon go nearly five days without a fragment of an order. I was incredibly livid with myself because of it. I began to yell – raucous yelling that would strip any and all emotions away – at my Pokémon. It was unacceptable if they were a minute too slow or an inch too wide. Any violate mistake, large or small, went noticed and I hated it. An archetype of perfection would never claim any mistake and if one did, it was viewed as a misdemeanor. My Pokémon would not indulge in misdemeanors.

When the class littered the field with their trifling bodies, we were all told that the end year exam would be a huge tournament where each individual and their respected team of six Pokémon would be judged on technique, coordination, execution, and cohesion between moves. Once the objective of the exam was addressed, the entirety of the class, like every other, was composed of repetition to perfect every intuitive skill. In a series of matches, we would be mock judged on the same components of the exam, except with three Pokémon and a limited number of duels. When I began, my anxiety left and was replaced with determination.

I felt on fire. The razor of adrenaline that ran through my veins was invigorating. There was nothing to say, it was all in the feeling. I tore up the field with my Pokémon, being slightly surprised from the lack of recent training. No one was even capable of putting a front up or executing any plan of action against me. It was a surprise for the professor too. Their gapping mouths made me smirk. I wasn't going to let any fucker get in my way – highfalutin or modest.

I completed my round of matches rather quickly because of this. It was possibly one of my best days of battling and yet I still wasn't satisfied with any of it. There wasn't a reason to stay at the battling field any longer, not wanting to indulge in any convoluted conversations, so I started to leave. It was an abrupt decision and it felt like the best decision I made all day.

As I began walking away, I realized that I wasn't satisfied with other things as well – primarily, the noxious, social task of expressing feelings. I wanted to fill all of the empty voids of confusion in my life. Wavering through the lines of obscurity wasn't an alternative and that meant that my emotions weren't going to get the best of me anymore.

I recalled my Pokémon, not caring to take any praise for my professor or my peers, seeing their petty compliments unnecessary, and ran towards my dorm. I was going to make Troublesome study and know everything so she couldn't fuck up her contract. I was going to tell her my feelings. I was going to fucking man up.


When I arrived at the dorm, Troublesome wasn't there, still probably coordinating. This was felt will distress even though I should have known that leaving early wouldn't necessary mean that Troublesome would get out early too.

I slowly strode across the room and plopped myself down on the black, modern couch. I laid down against its leather material and let my bangs take over my face. As my limbs crashed and contoured to a comfortable position, I suddenly felt tired. My gaze was kept at a constant on the wall, somehow causing the various beiges to hypnotize my mind to sleep. I couldn't fall asleep though and tried my best to prevent the dimming perception and thought processes. I knew that in order to do so I would have to get off the couch and perhaps walk around, but my body felt so heavy and laying down felt so good.

Just as my last flicker of sense was about to surrender to sleep, an obnoxious and loud noise went off. It was my phone and Reggie was calling.

"What?" I growled, not necessary in the mood to make conversation with my brother.

"I have the results, man!" he chirped nosily.

The sensation of expected surprise started to grow in my stomach. My feeling to know was renewed. "What did it say?" I attempted to say without any edge or stimulation in my voice.

"Ugh, well, I got some interesting results," he said, his voice instantly dropping a couple of octaves.

I instantly stood up from the couch, my hair messily scattered all other my face. "What!"

"Well… it says that… Dawn is a MAN! EW PAUL! Why did you think that Dawn was a girl and why would you so readily agree to date a man. Wait, are you trying to tell me your sexuality with this? Paul –"

"You fucking imbecile! Don't ever call me again!"

I tightly clenched my phone in my fist and then threw it across the room. "STUPID! Why did I think that Reggie could actually help me? Why did I even believe him? Why did I allow myself? Why the fuck am I such a moron? Why is everything so difficult?" I fell to the floor, my voice slowly lowering to a whisper as I softly clenched my throbbing head. "Why can't I get Troublesome out of my head?" I said in a barely audible whisper.

I sat on the floor hunched over for the longest period of time yet I didn't really care. I felt numb.

"Paul?"

Troublesome's back.

I got up from my slumped position and stood up shaking, attempting to balance my weight from prickled, needled joints. "Yeah?" I replied, rubbing my eyes.

She entered the living room and saw me. "You look tired."

"Thanks," I replied back nonchalantly.

She twiddled with her thumbs against her short uniform skirt, becoming bit by bit distracting to the eyes. "Can we study? I need to make sure I know the material and stuff. I just have less than three weeks so every minute is crucial."

I rubbed my head. "Sure."


Books were littered across the large expanse of the marble floor – scattered, chaotic, and opened to random and partly ripped pages. The floor was cold and hard against my rigid back, most likely causing the already high tensely of my muscles to increase. My eyes were stiffly bounded together and my head hurt. I was exhausted. Every single fragment of Unova history was planted in my brain, every molecular structure of any Pokémon species was memorized, and every form of artistic expression was mastered. I knew everything – the vast mainstream of new knowledge composed of useless snippets of information that I'd never need – but Troublesome was far from that. We had spent six hours studying and she failed to grasp concepts, remember the essentials, or focus. I was at means ends.

I rolled over, to where I was laying on my stomach, and folded my arms so I could rest my head beneath them. Troublesome was across from me with hazy, drooping eyes. "I think I need an aspirin."

"Please Troublesome…," I groaned, throwing a book at her.

"Don't test me," she muttered.

We looked at each other in absolute silence. My gaze shifted to her scrumptious lips and I felt my heart pick up in pace. The longing stare was fleeting. She rolled over on her back and blew her bangs out of her face. "I want to poke my eyes out."

"The lights are too bright."

"Yeah…," she murmured back, agreeing.

The silence continued. I laid on my side and shut my eyes, withdrawing them in a painful grace. "I want to go to sleep," I mumbled. I softly dozed off into a quiet nap and it, besides my brevity of battling success, felt like the best thing of the whole day. I curled my body inwards to preserve heat and try to become comfortable. I failed. I sat up and grudgingly rubbed my eyes against the brightness of the room. Troublesome looked like she was trying to figure something out. I sighed and crawled over to her. She was studying a particular molecular process in a Pokémon's system that I had gone over nearly five times already.

"Why can't you understand what I'm trying to teach you? It's really important that you understand all this information. What is so hard?" I asked in a daze.

She looked at me, turning her body towards me. Our lying bodies were even closer now. "I don't now," she said meekly.

I sighed dully. Troublesome's inability to learn wasn't only annoying, but bothersome. I started to fret over other alternatives. Cheating? Cramming? New tutor? What? I lightly discounted the burning academic hitch and focused on the current situation.

Troublesome and I were bound so closely together on the floor. Our bodies strictly abusing the other's heat and comfort. Books surrounded us. It was close to midnight. The windows were open and tinged the air with it's nasally tranquility and frigidity. My tired hand grabbed one of the many textbooks and opened it to the first chapter. My eyes read the same, now redundant, words over. I tried to think of yet another way to rephrase the information in a way that Troublesome could maybe understand.

"Troublesome – "

I was cut off. In an unrecognizable flash, her soft mouth was pleasantly yet surprisingly stuck to mine, my body twisting and turning as she mounted me. She gently tugged my jaw close, brushing my hair from my face and deeply scattering kisses along my collarbone. She was softly whispering my name.

Then she got up, rushed and frenzied. I looked at her impatiently. She winked and parted her cherry lips, "Don't ask." She twirled around blissfully, then left the room. It all went by too quickly and once I was in touch with reality again, I was mad.

My nose cringed in disappointment. My body grew heavy. My head stung. I managed to get nothing done in the six hours I particularly designated to teach Troublesome and confront my ever changing feelings to her. I somehow managed to fuck up both simple tasks. I felt worse than when I started, but somehow the raw taste and feel of her lips on mine made everything seem worth it; made six wasted hours seem like nothing. The sensation of her touching and whispering my name was more that enough. I saw her body slither into her bedroom and with a suddenly weighty heart, my lips gaily crawled upwards to form a small smile.

This might be harder than I had originally thought.