03| friendship

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          « Juliette! »

A familiar voice exclaims in the cloudless early morning. Glancing behind, I find Adrien shuffling towards me, a worried expression noticeable on his profile as he waved his hand shyly. Unquestionably, by the nervous state, he wants to talk about our little incident that had occurred the other day. I instantly halt my walking as I throw him a questioning look while securing the bag strap that was sliding off my shoulder.

Things undoubtedly became somewhat awkward between us since the day we were both digitalized by the Pixelator, with him tumbling on top of me after being transported into that blank space. For a moment in there, we were gawking at each other in shock and embarrassment, faces entirely red and incompetent to make the slightest move. Almost in a trance, as though no one dared to execute a movement to ruin the moment. Suddenly, something clicked in our minds simultaneously, and then we were both hastily scrambling away from the other.

No words were uttered after that, and thankfully, we were then shortly liberated from the blank space. I had noticed Adrien running off as soon we were released, and if I was oblivious of his alter ego, I might have felt a twinge of hurt by seeing such a reaction by believing he could not tolerate my presence anymore. Though, I already knew he needed to immediately change into his costume to assist Ladybug in defeating the Pixelator.

« Salut, Adrien. »

When appearing by my side, he timidly grins as he scratches the back of his head, eyes lowered towards our shoes, « Salut, Juliette. I— I just wanted to apologize for that day. I didn't mean to fall on top of you. And I don't want things to be awkward between us— just because of that. So, I'm sorry. »

He is such a sweetheart.

« Adrien, it's totally okay. I should have acted more maturely than staying completely silent the whole time. » I respond as I twiddled with my thumbs, smiling softly. « I'm actually glad you came to me first, and honestly, I think I'd be too nervous to say anything after that. »

He sighs in contentment, and later displays a huge toothy grin, « well, I'm glad we're okay now. »

Motioning with my head toward the school, we began walking side by side, « So, where did you run off to after we were free from that blank space? You left pretty quickly. »

Of course, I knew. Though, there is nothing wrong with seeing what excuses the blond can come up with on the spot.

I can definitely see him physically blanch by my question, gears intensely wiring inside his head to determine the most convincing explanation, « I— uh I wanted to make sure everyone was alright! So I rushed out as fast as I can. »

I hum in acknowledgment, pretending my understanding and acceptance to his response, « Hm, that's very brave of you. Especially with an akumatized person around, you still went to check on everyone. »

Adrien stares at me in absolute bewilderment, « You're extremely brave too! You literally jumped in front of Chloé! Not just anyone would do that, especially Chloé. »

I shrug my shoulders, then imagined if I had not jumped in front of Chloé. Numerous scenarios came to mind of Adrien and Chloé being stuck together instead of him and me, prompting me to let out a snicker, « I bet if you were stuck with her, she'd be clinging onto you the whole time while crying for her daddy. »

He visibly shudders as he grimaced to himself, « I don't even want to imagine that. I'm purrfectly fine with anyone else. »

My eyes snapped wide open, then loudly snort as I caught the cat pun accidentally rolling off his tongue. His inner Chat is coming out.

« Since when did you make cat puns? » I asked with a laugh, his face tinting light redness.

« I always did, actually. Just not so much in public, » Adrien states, letting out a disheartened exhalation in the end. I frown when observing his reaction. His life is not as glamorous as I once assumed. Though he is rich and practically set for life, there are definite cons to it as well. Which is why, I believe, he takes full advantage of his time as Chat Noir, just to be himself.

« I know we aren't— the closest of friends, but you can always be open with me. Puns and all. Even text or call if you ever need someone just to let out all your frustrations. » I tell him as I softly plant a hand on his shoulder, bringing his full attention to me.

He flashes me a genuine smile, « Merci. »

| to be continued

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