Starling Hills 딩동
Gary was following before the gesture but perhaps he shouldn't have assumed that she would want him there. But that didn't matter now. He fidgeted with the hems of his sleeves again as he walked behind her and into the bathroom. He briefly glanced around while she worked on her bandage. When his eyes fell upon the pregnancy test he stilled for a moment. The feeling of guilt began to blossom but he didn't want to linger on it and he tore his gaze from the stick, staring at the wound from over her shoulder.

And then he looked at her, blinking.


He had heard "butterfly kisses."
Ari would look at her hand, tilting it a bit as she saw the depth of the cut. She would then hold her hand open and winced at that, yep hurt hand owie. She would go to her first aid kit and start looking through the bandages.

"Uhm...tiny strips of medical band aids that can stand in place of stitches, " she explained as best she could about it. When she saw him looking at the test, her cheeks turned pink at it and would just pick it up and open the trash bin to drop it in. That problem was taken care of so there was no need to worry about it.

"Are you ok...after that worry? " she would ask curiously.
"Ah," he hummed.

While she threw away the pregnancy test, Gary quickly washed his hands, thinking she would want some help putting the bandages on.

"Yeah," he said. He thought so. At least there wasn’t something new to fret over. "Are you?"
Ari would pick up a piece of gauze and start to dab around the cut to just clean it.

"I'm fine honestly...once it came out negative. It's not because I don't eventually want children but...I am not in the best mental space for a child right now, " she told him. She had reacted rather strongly to the idea of being pregnant but she knew she'd eventually settle and have a child or just go the manless route of having a child since she didn't overly think highly of herself in a relationship.
Gary only hummed as he dried his hands. Children had never really crossed his mind at all so he wasn’t sure if he wanted to keep up a conversation about them. Even when they had been thinking she was probably pregnant, the thought of there being a child born because of him and related to him hadn’t even been formulated.

"How do you put them on? The butterfly stitches?" he asked, unsure if they were like regular bandaids or not.
Ariadne would pull out the strip of bandages that had fat ends and a thin middle and another fat end.

"They're easy, stick one end on one side and then pull a little to make it kinda tight, and then stick it on the other side, " she told him as she would hold her hand out. She would first apply first aid ointment before trying to apply the first one but it was a bit lose. "Just uhm...better than I just did, " she said laughing a little as she would hold her hand out flat to make it easier- even though it hurt and opened up the slice in her palm a bit more.
"Okay," he said with a tiny chuckle at her demonstration.

He grabbed one of the little bandaids and opened it and placed one of the adhesive ends on her palm next to the wound before pausing.

"Sorry if I hurt you," he said softly, smile replaced with a more somber expression. And then he pulled the bandaid as tight as it would allow before placing the other end down.

Gary gave her a glance before continuing.
Ari would keep her hand still for him, her eyes closing as she bit her lip to keep from making much of a sound as he placed a bandaid over it.

"It's ok...not that bad, just keep going please, " she would ask him as she tried to focus on anything else but the soreness in her hand.

It would take about three more to close the cut on her palm enough and she would keep trying to just be quiet through it.
"Mhm," he hummed.

Gary didn’t rush so as avoid making them sloppy, but he did get into a bit of rhythm as he diligently placed the butterfly stitches over the wound. Once he was done, he held her hand with his to inspect the cut a bit. And then he looked at her.

"Kiss to make it better?" he asked with a small, shy smile.
Ari did pretty well at not making too many sounds from the pain of the bandages. They would serve to help her in the end and it would be a-ok. She would though, let out a sigh of relief when he was finished and she could put a soft bandage over it to give it some cushion.

The offer though, made her smile and give a nod, "Sure and then I can put a bandage over it to keep it clean, " she told him. He was a sweet guy and she wondered how or why he enjoyed spending time with her since she felt she was generally not the warmest person out there.
His smile grew a little more before he lifted her hand a little bit more. He left a small and quick on her palm a little off to the side of her wound. His lips had barely touched her skin. But he could feel himself blushing anyway and busied himself by turning away to grab the small roll of gauze.

"Uh—wh-wh-when—" he stuttered a bit, "—when it's closed a bit on its own you should try to leave it uncovered. So it can breathe."

She probably already knew that, though.
That was kind of cute, he actually kissed her hand and she just smiled a bit and would gently take her hand from him as she placed a clean bit of gauze over it and would wrap it up in a way so it won't get lose.

"I will- come on, let's get out of the bathroom now please, " she told him with a little smile as she would move to leave from the room with him. "Though I may have to call my boss and let him know I need a few days off...making jewelry with one hand is not easy, " she said with a slight frown.
Gary watched as she applied the gauze and then followed as she left the bathroom. He flipped the light switch off but it was actually the vent! He quickly turned them both off.

And then he frowned when she said she would call her boss.

"Sorry." He felt like he must have jinxed it when he told her to be careful with glass. And now she was being inconvenienced.
The vent made her jump a little but she was alright and looked at him with a little smile at that.

She would go back to the kitchen with him and would reheat water for more tea.

"Don't be, he's a good boss and I'll just tell him I was working on something and cut myself on it and not a blown bulb. He won't mind, " and she was set for any funds that she might need for personal use.

She would carefully add in fresh leaves to her tea steeper, tapping out some of the leaves into a pile on a napkin. "How are classes? " she would ask him curiously as she did this.
It sounded like her boss didn't know that she was a psychic, which surprised him a little. For some reason, he had thought he knew. They had spent Christmas together. Did that make Gary special? He liked to think so.

He took back his spot on the stool. The pizza had cooled but he didn't mind as he took a bite.

"Alright," he said with a small shrug after swallowing. "I think I ended up saving the tougher ones for last." Which was not fun nor smart for an undergrad senior. "But I've got an easy one, so..." he wasn't going to lose his mind! Right away!
She would continue to make fresh tea for herself, the motion an easy one for her to get into as she worked on it while listening to him speak.

"What's the tougher one? " she would ask him curiously as she poured in hot water into her cup to let it steep now before she would pick up another slice of pizza and would take a bite. It was fine that it was cool, she didn't overly protest it too much..
"Accounting, speech, history, and chemistry," he said while he rubbed his temple with his free hand. Required courses. And he disliked all of them in different ways. Especially speech. For obvious reasons.
Ok all classes save one that she actually knew anything on and that made her shudder a smidge.

"When do those ones start? " she asked curiously, like did he have time to prepare? Or was it going to just be ass over teakettle for that one.
"One on Monday," he said after having had another bite, "two yesterday, and the accounting class started today." So he was already swimming through work. Good thing he knew how to study!
Oh dear, should he even be out here than helping her? She didn't want him to fail his classes because he was here with her. "I hope you coming here hasn't cut too much into your study time, I'd hate for you to have to stay up too late or something because you were here helping me, " she told him, concern in her voice as she would take a sip of her tea that she forgot to add sugar to and would promptly make a sour face at the taste.
"Oh, no, it’s fine," he said. "They’re not really that... difficult? The classes and lectures are just boring." And how was he supposed to study for speech?

But Gary usually stayed up late, anyway, so that wasn’t an issue to him, either.
Oh boring was liveable! And could be taken care of easily.

"Ah, I was worried that I was keeping you from important studies, I wouldn't want your grades to suffer from me, " she told him as she would move to add sugar to her tea and then take a sip. Oh that's better, much better!
"I usually try to stay a little bit ahead," he said with a casual shrug. He took a couple of bites then, staring at nothing in particular for a moment. And then he asked: "Where do you work?" Gary recalled her mentioning it was in the Hills, but he couldn't remember if she said where exactly she worked.
She nodded as she would take another sip of her tea, "That's good, I hope you are able to keep it up, " she told him as she would swallow, "Annorlunda, I'm the jeweler there. It's a lovely shop with clothing, treats, and of course things with gemstones, " she told him with a bit of a smile at that, "You should swing by to try the treats there, promise you'll love them, " she told him, wholly endorsing Onni's shop.
When he heard the name it rang a bell. His brows twitched upward as his lower jaw dropped, opening his mouth a little as he recalled she had said where she worked.

"What kind of treats?" he asked. Gary liked treats.
"Oh a lot; cakes, cupcakes, small french pastries, macarons, uhm tarts and cookies; he and his bakers make and sell a lot and it's all fresh, " she told him as she would sip on her tea a bit now.
He hummed.

"Those sound really good," he said. "And he sells those and clothes?" That kind of seemed like... a lot. But maybe her boss could handle it. Gary would have been overwhelmed. Selling things and controlling merchandise, in general, sounded strenuous. Computers were much simpler.
She would nod as she sipped her tea, "Yep, clothes, jewelry, and baked goods. I don't know how he's managed it but he makes it work and the store is doing great, " she told him as she would pick up her slice of pizza and take another bite from it. She liked it there, it was peaceful and it let her work at her pace.

"He also lets me make and sell my own jewelry there and I give him a part of the profit due to him letting me do that at his shop, " she told him as well. That alone brought in a few thousand dollars to her own pocket and the shop so she had no complaints.
"That's good," he said with a smile. Now he had to go just to at least see how it was set up. And, of course, the treats.

In the small lapse of conversation, Gary finished his slice and had another drink of orange juice. His attention visibly perked up when she spoke again.

"That's really cool. Is it—what kind of jewelry? Like the, uh..." oh, what had been that thing she had on New Year's? He pinched his fingers together like he was holding an invisible piece of jewelry between them and shook it a little.
She would eat, not minding the silence for the moment as she would go back to her tea mostly for the moment. That helped just warm her up and relax her further.

His question made her smile a little bit, "O make a wide variety of jewelry using gemstones both cut and raw...I make necklaces, bracelets, earrings, crowns, brooches...uhm...I decorate clothes with gems...It's really endless; if you wanted to see, come on by the shop, " she liked him but she wasn't bringing him into her work room because that was her private space and a current hazard zone.
"Crowns?" he echoed with a small laugh, both amused and amazed. Those must be fun to make. When he suddenly found himself with some free time, he would swing by.

There was still one thing that was bothering him a bit. Poking at his brain.

"So... I-I was wondering if, maybe, once a week or something I could stop by or you could come or we could go out and just eat and talk? Help you feel better more." It was more so her eating—or, rather, lack of—that upset him the most.
Nodding at that, "Crowns and they are...exotic but a lot of fun to make, " she told him with a little smile at that.

She was sipping her tea, looking up at him and then just...surprised by him even more. He wanted to meet up; frequently even to just spend time with her and let her talk if she needed to. What did she even do to deserve meeting such a genuinely kind person?

"Sure, that sounds good; you may have to send me a random text here and there just because I can be forgetful when there is a lot going on, " she told him. So if he didn't hear from her, it wasn't because she forgot it was because her mental self was a train wreck and couldn't sort A from B.
"Okay," he smiled again. "We could just pick a day and time if you want." Then he could just text when he was coming instead of having to plan something every week.
She would pull out her phone then and scroll through, "I'm pretty free on Sunday evenings if you are, " she would offer to him, be easy to have that as a recurring thing.
Gary didn't need to pull out his phone to check on Sundays.

"I should be," he said. "Sometimes I might have work but we close at eight." And there was a chance, later in the semester, that he might have a presentation the following day he would want to focus on. But they could reschedule.
Ari gave a nod to that, "That sounds good and we can always call or text if things get in the way, " she told him easily as she would finish off her tea. She honestly wasn't that hungry anymore and felt like curling up on her couch with thick fluffy blankets might be a good thing right now.

"I don't want to be odd but I honestly feel like just curling up and passing out on the couch, " she told him, a little smile on her face from that. She was emotionally drained and even though she didn't talk a lot about what was going on, she felt a little better but also a bit numb as well.
Gary made a nod in return. And then blinked when she spoke of curling up on the couch.

"Like—c-cuddling?" Was that okay?? Did he hear wrong? He must have. Oh, God, he still said that out loud, though!
That was...unexpected and she would look like a deer in head lights for a moment.

A little smile would come onto her face though as she shook her head, "No uhm...last time we were on a couch together, we ended up without pants off, " she told him, a little teasing in her tone as she spoke, "I'd be up for it but after I'm a little less emotional, " she told him; even if she looked calm right now her head was a blender on pure'.
Gary felt like a deer, too! Except, one that wished it was a rabbit so it was small enough to hide deep within a burrow. The tease only made him blush more and dried out his mouth.

"Y-yeah, of course," he said, brushing it off with a nervous laugh. "Um—I'm gonna leave these with you, then." He tapped one of the pizza boxes. Easy food for her to grab instead of thinking about cooking and then deciding against it.

He figured now was the time to take his leave. Before he embarrassed himself even more.
She gave him a small smile and would then go to her fridge and pull out a pink package that held vanilla macaroons inside it; about 6 left, and would hold them out to him.

"Here, you enjoy them alright? Thank you for coming over though Gary, " she told him, moving to show him out this time instead of him wandering in blind into her home and trying to find out where she was.
Gary stood up from the chair and habitually checked his pockets. Phone, wallet, keys—all set. And then, reflexively, he accepted the box and stared at it.

"Oh, thank you," he said. Despite thinking she should keep them (she should be eating more!), Gary was really bad at saying "No."

"I'll see you on Sunday." Which felt kind of funny on his tongue. He hadn't said that in years!
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