Just Across: Episode 3 (BL Romance Story)

Updated on May 9, 2020
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Darius is a former high school literary and feature writer with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information and Communications Technology.

Just Across chapter three book cover.
Just Across chapter three book cover.

At First Sight

Jacob

__________

"I love you, Zac."

I grabbed his shaking hands, held on to it as if I've never held it before. I could see drips on tears flowing down his eyes, but I know that he's not implying that he's scared or sad about what I did... or what had already happened.

Like he always has.

"I always have."

__________

I was about to go aboard a train, but then I met a kid.

I wasn't supposed to take the train, but my favorite novel-based movie was about to start soon that day, and I didn't want to miss any moment of it. I wasn't going to waste a single moment to don't catch that movie on TV.

But I met a kid at a train station. There someone in my peripheral vision that I can't easily ignore and it has been bugging me for a mere minute.

It was a hot mid-summer day when I saw a frail-ish kid sitting slouched on a corner of a bench as the rest of the people in front of me walk forward to step inside the train.

I stopped for that moment and contemplated about reasons why a kid like him would stay in such a place? He was also, above all, writing on his notebook like a bullied nerd in middle school.

What a goody-two-shoes, I thought. But every time the clock above me ticks its seconds away, the more I felt that I'm being drawn to him.

"Hey, kid!"

He suddenly stopped writing from his notebook and looked up to me. It was a bit of a shock because I was lost of words to follow up on what to say to him.

That was a hot mid-summer day when I first met Zac, the "writing nerd" of the middle school. Though, I didn't know him back then, not even his name.

Not at that time, yet.

Meeting him was something else... with the way he looked up to me, with his hair as black and swaying and silky. He was wearing the same middle school uniform as I was, too.

"Ye-yeah?" He said.

Even the way he talked was odd yet captivating.

"Whatcha doin' there all by yourself?"

It made me want to tease him.

"...what?"

I thought he didn't hear me at first, or if my voice was cracking and soft, so I asked him one more time.

"Oh..." he said. "Writing a story."

"Cool." was all I could respond to him. It had been an awkward first meet-up for sure.

We both went aboard the next train and got home after that, but I kept him in my mind: the way he looked, with those thick-coated glasses on his face and the dark colors of his eyes. I swear, even his lashes were longer than normal. That night in my bed, I suddenly found myself thinking about him more than thinking about the missed answers I've got from my previous test and more than the novel-based movie that I almost completely missed.

It was such a weird, cold, and almost sleepless night. But, for some reason, I wanted to see him again.

So, I took the train the next day and saw him again on another bench writing in his notebook. And the next day. And the next after that. After a week or so, I mustered up a small amount of courage to finally meet him.

"Me?" He said nervously.

Who else would it be?

"I'm Jacob."

I kept looking at his notes in his notebook. He had written an awful lot in just a

"I'm Zac."

"Zac" what? Is that all that he could answer me? Well, anyway...

"Are you writing stories again, Zac?"

"Ye-yeah... um...."

"Is it a project or something, or an assignment your teacher keeps on making you do, or perhaps a-"

"No... um... just something I like to do."

"Oh." I sat beside him, a distance apart, while still doting on his writings.

That continued on and on until the moment where the gap between us shrunk. It was an unconscious effort and an unconscious guise for me to be able to read his works.

I have always wanted... to read his stories, ever since the day he told me that he's writing some of it in his notebook.

And... I wanted to know Zac more.

That sort of routine went on until we went to high school. Zac went from a "writing nerd" to a "writing protege." But he doesn't seem very happy about it, though.

"Your words are really special, you know?"

We were in the same high school class together. We both grew a little taller, but we didn't really notice the change. He still wears those thick-coated glasses like two overgrown monocles intact, but his hair is as dark, silky, and short as ever.

"I mean, Zac, I can't even write any stories as good as this." I was reading his recent finished short story on a new notebook. He was staring outside the schoolyard, looking at the students below the school building. His right palm is placed across his left cheek as if he's given up on life.

"Hey," I said to him, closing the notebook. "What's your secret, huh?"

"I don't really know." He chuckled. "I just write what's on my mind and then poof, suddenly everyone thinks its some kind of professional-author-like work when they read it."

"Hey, quit boasting, you master."

"I am not, it's a little annoying per se. You know me enough that boasting's not one of my attributes. And quit calling me master, it's really embarrassing."

He gets flustered whenever I call him master out of nowhere because everyone would, like, look at him for no apparent reason and then realize that he is a master. "Eh? Why not, you totally deserve it. The school's been calling you for multiple writing competitions and you always win. Other schools are getting jealous of that, too. They would have never thought that someone so meek could bring home tons of medals, awards, and trophies. And I'm complimenting you, you know."

"I-Is that so?"

"Well, duh! I am your closest friend after all. I'm proud of you, actually. I am envious. All I could do is read and then blabber nonsense for half an hour straight. And it's just about a certain passage from a work I've read."

He looked at me in the eyes and grabbed his notebook. He grabbed his pen and started writing again... for the nth time this week.

"You shouldn't be envious of me, Jacob. You have great qualities too, you know?"

"Well, I guess you're right. you are very clumsy."

"That's not nice of you to say, Jacob."

"Okay... then you are sometimes clumsy. I mean, you always drop that pen of yours and then ask me to come with you to buy a new one at that book store a few stations away. It's such a pain, you know?"

"Then why do you always say 'yes' whenever I ask you to come with me?"

"Because... it's a book store. That's my heaven! And I am waiting for new novels to read, so why not come along with you?"

"So if I stopped being clumsy, then you won't come with me again in the bookstore?" He said teasingly. This little brat.

"...anyway, why shouldn't I be envious of such a master like you in the first place?"

"Hey! Don't just suddenly change the subject." He cracked up after that and it wasn't even a joke. "Well, all I am saying is that you shouldn't compare yourself to me, Jacob. You've got good qualities, too."

"Yeah, like what?"

He stopped for a moment to take a deep sigh and he raised his right arm in a fist position. Then, he raised his fingers one-by-one as he enumerates my "good qualities." That I was good at cooking, cleaning the house, being a great friend and all that. But... there was something in me that wanted more.

"Those weren't good qualities!" I said jokingly. He laughed like an idiot.

"And you're very outspoken, Jacob. At least you've got that power with you. I'm not as voiceful as you when it comes to talking. It's jeopardizing recitation grades."

I felt a sudden assurance of self-worth after he said that. I mean, other people had been calling me out for being such a blabber-mouth that sometimes there's no filter in the words I'm saying. But... it was somehow special when it's coming from Zac.

"Well, I guess you're right," I said as I looked outside the window while smiling like a total doofus.

"But that's also the reason why you're always in trouble, you knucklehead."

I guess I wanted him to give me more praise, like an antidote to flu I've always had.

"Hey! You had me at the first half of that, so you didn't have to include my semi-delinquent traits. I am already fully aware of that fact."

He laughed at that mediocre statement. It's like a giggle that you can't simply erase once its already in your memories.

I've noticed something about Zac. It's rare for him to smile and laugh, especially in something stupid.

"You really are something special," he said out of nowhere. He looked at me, with smiles from ear-to-ear. "And that's what I like about you."

I wish I can make him smile more. He looks... totally different.

I stared at him for a few seconds, seconds he didn't notice. I just realized it when he looked at me again with those dark-colored eyes of his. I stood up and walked slowly outside of the room... to try and catch some breath of fresh air.

"Anyway, the teacher's calling me in the department."

"Really? Jacob... what did you do this time."

"What?! It's just a chore, don't get too cocky."

"If you say so."

Before I went out of the room, I looked back at him as he returns to his old self: the gloomy, nerdy, writing machine.

"Hey, Zac."

"Yup?"

"Are you free later? I want to hang out with you after school today."

"Not really; I'm free today. What's with that all of a sudden, though?"

"Nothing, you're free later right? So let's hang out."

He smiled at me first before giving me his answer.

"Yeah! Yeah, okay. See you, then."

You have finished reading episode 3 of Just Across. To be continued...

© 2020 Darius Razzle Paciente

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