Trace of Ink
By Zale_Valrez
Date: June 2, 2022
Ch. 15Nicknames

Chapter 14: Nickname

Fera realized what she said and Nick turned to her. "Sorry?" he asked. Then is followed by an awkward silence. "Did you just say, Nicky? I am not a gay." He saved her from feeling embarrassed.

"I thought you are, Nicky." She loosened up eventually and felt comfortable with his response.

"Disgusting," he blurted which made Fera laugh. While he hold his smile back looking at Fera who was laughing. She rarely laughed and he treasured every laugh she did with him.

"It's great, Nicky," she giggled.

"Don't call me that," he even pretended not to like it.

"No one tells me what to do,"

"That's unfair."

They reached the apartment before dark and Fera peacefully cooked her dinner. This time she browsed how to cook step by step with video. She couldn't risk her apartment anymore. She tried to fried the chicken coated with flour. When someone knocked on her door, her face turned into annoyance. She had been struggling to do it right, she was afraid of those oil splashes. She put everything down for a while.

"What is it, Nicky?" she asked and he only walked straight into her apartment, so she had no choice but to step back or he'd step on her.

"I smiled something," he said. He sat down on her newly bought couch with his laptop and opened it.


"Is it your dinner?" he asked while looking straight at his laptop. "I need a favor." She went back to her chicken and continued frying.


"I need to finish this PowerPoint presentation." She seemed to ignore it and focus on her chicken. He even heard her curse that oil from hitting her.

"It's your punishment for ditching, isn't it?" she answered after taking out the chicken from the pan. Her aircon was in full blast but he could see her moist forehead.

"Do you need help?" he put his laptop down and walked toward her.

"No, you do your presentation. I got this," she breathe and wiped her forehead.

"Are you sure?" he was eyeing her with a worried look. "Loosened up, keep cool."

"It wasn't as easy as you think, Nicky. Now get away or I might bump you," she roared, which made him smile. Nick did walk away to her Frig and got a pitcher of water. He sat down at her dining table and watched her cooked. After several minutes, she finished frying all of it.

"Let's have a toast for your success," he joked and hand her a glass of water. She chuckled and accepted the water. They did toast before she drank them.

"I did," she uttered with a huge smile, he was making fun of her but she didn't mind.

"Why did you cook a whole chicken when it was you alone who'll eat in the first place. Took you too long, what time is it?" He took a look at his watch. "Nine pm!"

"Don't laugh, I only followed the instruction, why don't you just help me eat them up." He helped him set the table and they eat together. She winced as she tasted her fried chicken.

"It's not that salty, is it?" All she wanted was to shrink in her seat. And Nick mercilessly laughs at her embarrassment. She snatched the whole plate of chicken but Nick stopped her.

"Don't be too sensitive, it's normal for first-timers. It's not that bad, my first fried chicken was bitter since I burned them." She dropped the plate back and unwillingly bit it. He helped her finish them but they failed. Most of what they have eaten was rice.

"I should have followed the amount of salt, I thought it was too little." She regretfully murmured, while Nick was holding his laugh. He had drunk his third glass of water. "You think a dog can handle this?"

"They can, I think." He mockingly answered and she hit his shoulder and look him straight to his face. "Aw! This is physical abuse."

"I'm serious," she whined. She even pouted her lips.

"Of course, they can," he answered and she stood up. She got a plastic bag and put the chicken in it. Before he could stand she handed the plastic to him. "What is that for?"

"You go feed the street dogs." He moved away and shook his head.

"You do it."

"I'll help you with your presentation." He smiled and accept the plastic.

"Deal," he walked to his laptop and handed it to Fera.

"Don't let dogs bit you." She reminded him. She went to her room and started his presentation. It wasn't too hard, for Nick it is since he ditch that class. After a few minutes, he hadn't come back and she felt like going to pee.

"Fera! Fera!" she heard him call her and followed by multiple knocks on her door.

"What?" she asked and she met his worried face. He instantly grabbed her hand and checked every of her body. "Don't touch me," she hit his hand off and he let out a heavy sigh. "What the heck is wrong with you?"

"I thought you slit your wrist!" he exclaimed.

"Why would I?" she walked toward his laptop and handed it to him.

"Then explain that one." Then he pointed to a stain on her floor. It was the red paint that fell.

"Dried paint? I accidentally drop a bottle of paint, alright? It's late, you should sleep." And she pushed him out of her room.

"Have you finished it?"

"Yup, goodnight." She didn't wait for his response and shut the door once he got out. She hadn't let the knob go and she lean to her door and a smile formed on her lips. She recalled his worried face, it seemed to tickle her heart that made her smile even more. She bit her lips out of embarrassment.

"Stupid," she whispered and went back to her room. She sat at her study table and got her pen. She flipped the pages and uncapped her pen.

"In every type of smile,

mocking smile, sad smile

or even a confident smile,

the smile you gave me

is my favorite." She wrote it down on her notes. Then she flipped to another page.

"You made me laugh,

that made my day enough,

You are the joy,

that I truly enjoy,

You made me special today,

I'm afraid you won't do the same someday." Every emotion reflects in her poem, her lips could maybe lie, but her pen couldn't.

She climbed to her bed and hug her pillow with a smile. 'I hope this feeling last forever.' she thought while her eyes were closed. That weird feeling felts good and she didn't care what was that meant. All she knew was, that Nick was the only person that made her feel that way. She knew her attitude and principles were too different from others, which made her an outcast from everyone and made her hard to have a friend. Nick was the first-ever person she could consider a friend.

"Good night, Nicky," she whispered.

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