twelve

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"Rock."

"Paper."

"Scissor."

"Shoot!" they yelled, simultaneously.

Nicholas had his fist clenched while Dina's palm was open, imitating the paper motion. His blue eyes widened in disbelief. She won three times in a row. Was that even possible? Dina's grin only widened at his shocked expression.

"Pay up," she demanded.

Nicholas groaned, reaching into his bag to pull out the chocolate bar. "I call bullshit on this."

They had made a bet by playing a childish game, if Nicholas lost he owed her a chocolate bar. He was almost certain that he would defeat her, yet she took him by surprise again. He didn't know whether to be frustrated or impressed.

"Nemo! Clownfish don't curse," gasped Dina.

"You're hilarious if you think I'm even remotely close to Nemo."

"Oh please," she scoffed, "I bet you're a big softie on the inside."

"Hell no."

"Lying never gets anyone far in life, remember?" she teased, her brown eyes glimmering at him.

For a second, Nicholas' mind went blank, his heart warming up to the dark eyes that seemed to lure him closer to his doom. He knew she was bad for him, he knew she was only going to cause him heartaches; he knew she was consuming his thoughts, yet none of that mattered to him. All logic flew out the window, and Nicholas refused to acknowledge the negatives.

"Politicians, Dina. They're the biggest liars of them all," he stated.

"Our president doesn't count."

He raised a brow at her. "Why not?"

"He was born a liar."

A smile graced his lips, unable to resist himself. How she managed to distract him from the world, he had no idea. He leaned against his chair, visibly amused at the proud look on her face.

"You have a twisted sense of humor, you know that?"

"All part of the charm," she winked.

Nicholas rolled his eyes. "Tell me which idiot would ever boost your ego like that."

"Oh, Nemo. You're so bashful. You've clearly told me more than once that I'm a unique individual," she grinned.

Immediately, Nicholas averted his gaze away from her. "I-I never said that," he mumbled.

"So, why are you stuttering then?"

"I'm not," he denied, quietly.

"Right."

He could feel her gaze boring into his, a small tint rising to his cheeks, and Nicholas cursed his pasty skin. She could read through him like a book, flipping through his pages and uncovering every story. He was a fragile shard of glass that was at the palm of her hands, yet he didn't seem to break, not around her.

Around Dina, he was free, he was a survivor with her. He forgot about his past, his parents, his friends, they were all a mere memory compared to the emotions he felt in the present. It was an unfamiliar feeling, but lately Nicholas had been welcoming his newfound obsession with open arms.

The slight patter of rain on the window snapped him out of his thoughts. Nicholas moved his gaze to the window beside him, seeing that Dina had already walked towards it and was gazing fondly at the gray skies.

"Hey, Nick?" she questioned, softly.

He was surprised by the name and tone that she used. The playful demeanor had disappeared, leaving behind a timid girl in its place. Her voice was hushed, low enough only for his ears to hear. She gently bit down on her lower lip, the action stirring a familiar feeling through Nicholas.

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