Waiting

Tick.

Tock.

Tick.

Tock.

Red glanced at the clock again for the fifth time this minute — tick, tick, tick. . .

It was ticking away like a time bomb. And it was maddening.

His wife was gone most of the day, and he was left in the house — work didn't come as easily as he thought it would. . . Not today, at least. And Red was very used to his wife being late.

But not this late.

Maybe, he thought, checking the old clock again the sixth time and looked up just in time to see the minute hand move a space so that it read 11:58, maybe he was just being paranoid. That's right.

He uneasily lifted his two big feet and rested them on the coffee table — she didn't always liked it whenever he did that, but right now, she wasn't here, was she?

He's thinking about her again, and that always made him a bit anxious: what's taking that girl so damn long?

Red was tempted to glance back at the clock, as though looking at it might lead to his death sentence, but he shrugged it off and flexed his arms behind his head, relaxing a bit.

She could handle herself fine, he told himself, but he doubted she'd fight to save her life. She wasn't really in one with the way life throws combat at her. That's how Red got to like her in the first place.

He liked the way she gets angry whenever he calls her weak, especially when she starts puffing her cheeks like a child. That was cute. He'd have thought, after more than ten years together, she'd stop acting like a kid and lose what always singles her out of every stereotypes out there, and that's what frightened Red.

But she didn't change, much to Red's relief: she was still the same, happy-go-lucky girl he fell in love with.

Too bad he realised too late.

Tick.

Tock.

Tick.

Tock.

Red's left eye twitched. Finally, he gave in to temptation and glanced at the clock: it was a minute after midnight. He groaned and ran his fingers through his hair, frustrated.

He had to find ways to entertain himself while she still wasn't here yet. But he'd done just about everything an hour ago: he did the laundry, he cooked a meal for himself, he watched television, he tried "Single-Player" in the Legend of Zelda. . .

He missed playing "Multiplayer" with his wife.

He was slowly drifting off to sleep, and he nodded himself awake. Red didn't think his wife would like to see him staying up the night to wait for her, but it'd be a lot worse if he actually slept staying up waiting for her.

Red occupied himself with staring at the pictures on the top shelf where she used to keep her books. He sighed and stood up, his foot accidentally knocking a half-full cup of coffee —

It broke once it landed on the wooden floor, and the carpet was spilt with the cold liquid.

"Oh, shit," Red muttered, but gave it the least amount of attention he could. He could clean it up later, he guessed. . .

Careful not to step on the broken fragments of the china cup or the wet floor, he tiptoed over to the cupboard, and dug his hands in his pockets.

He could remember how her hair looked like when the wind blew over — she looked beautiful. She always didn't believe she was, though. Either it was modesty or simply her own cluelessness, that characteristic of hers just made Red want her even more. He chuckled at the picture frame the second to the left, where his wife, at her young age, was smiling cheekily up the screen, her white teeth showing. She was giving a thumbs-up, and behind her was a flower garden full of roses.

Red pulled his hand from his pocket and gingerly ran the tips of his fingers against the glass frame of the biggest picture in their shelf, the one that stood out of all: their wedding.

Red really regretted wearing a tux, but it was worth it — his wife managed to convince herself that she'd only be wearing this once, and then it'll all be over. She was always very shy, but he wished she'd really learn to be a bit more outgoing wearing dresses. But she looked very gorgeous in it. When she marched clumsily up the aisle wearing white flats—he remembered the audience gasping when she almost fell over — all he could do was gawk at her.

He told her in her ear she looked gorgeous. Her reaction?

Nice? That's okay.

Beautiful? That's all right.

But gorgeous?

Amarillo del Bosque Verde doubted she was. But all Red did was smirk.

Red sighed at the memory: where was she now?

He took one last look at the clock.

12:05.

He sighed once again and trudged: he didn't know where to go, but he was sure he'd sleep and not wait anymore — he'll just have to forgive Yellow's refrain again.

After all, being a nurse takes lot of time. . . And Red encouraged her. He just didn't think she'd spend more time at her job than with her own husband. . .

Just then, the door burst open. Red's heart skipped a beat — he turned around, and there she —

— wasn't.

A woman with long, brown hair came into the room, pouncing like a sick school girl — this was not Yellow. She was wearing a black suit, like the ones businesswomen do, and startling blue eyes that made any sucker get entranced. The perfect bodice for pageants; curvy, slim. . . And the perfect woman for conning.

Her mere presence to Red's home made him annoyed, and she just left the door open — a cold breeze blew by. She, however, took no notice and continued to babble about the stupid things around Red's house to herself and if she was the owner of the house, she'd do this and put that there. . . Too bad she wasn't.

"Blue, what the hell are you doing in my house?" Red bellowed. He tried keeping his cool, he really tried, but the woman was getting on his nerves. What was she going to do here?

"Hiya, Red!" she chirped happily. Red hoped she didn't notice his eye twitch. "You know, it's rude to shout —"

"And it's rude to barge in someone's house uninvited!" he shot back, then he pointed at the clock. "It's fucking past midnight!"

Blue waved a lazy hand, sticking out her tongue and rolling her eyes. "Potato, potahto. . . It's not like I woke you up."

Then Red realised something.

"How'd you get in my house without a key?"

Blue perked up. And that smile — Red forced himself not to flinch. It was really creepy. . .

"That's what I'm here for, Bub."

She made her "ta-da" pose and gestured to the doorway, where she was standing.

Even in the moonlight, Red could see she was shining — and leave all the cheesy bits later. Her ponytail was very messy, and her nurse's cap was standing lopsided: she looked like she ran all the way here from the hospital. The girl Red was waiting all day for. But what he didn't understand was how she got to be in such a red mess.

Yellow panted, throwing her bag to the side, where Blue was standing — Blue raised her foot in reflex before the bag was thrown in the corner to not get hit.

"Red — I'm real sorry! Someone got bitten by an Arcanine — and there was blood everywhere!"

Which would explain the red mess. He slowly made his way to her silently.

"I didn't know what to do — I panicked — oh, I'm so sorry I was late! The police didn't clean up the car accident in the middle of the street — oh, forget it!"

Red was now right in front of her, but Yellow still didn't get the message because she continued making stupid excuses.

"I'm sorry for making you wait! You really didn't have to! I can't understand why you did, though — but I'm not saying it's your fault!"

Red placed a finger to her lips. "You don't need to explain."

Yellow smiled. He and his wife leaned —

Then Blue squealed.

"Blue, get the hell out of here."

Blue said an "oh" and "sorry" and went out the door, closing it, and soon after that they heard a car engine start.

That's a good sign. A sign that she left.

Yellow smiled warmly and caressed Red's face with her soft hand. "I'm very sorry, though. I didn't think you'd wait that long —"

Red tackled her to the floor so that he was right on top of her. "Shut up and get undressed."

Red began to unbuckle his belt, then watched as a smile played Yellow's lips.

"I thought you'd never ask."


"Hey, Red?"

"Mm-hmm?"

"Do you smell . . . coffee?"

"CRAP."