"Who told you I’m not jealous?"
Upon those words leaving Zaki’s mouth, Hinari was dumbstruck. She blinked more than three times before she could utter a word.
"H-huh? W-what did you say?" Hinari stammered. She was trying to confirm that what she just heard wasn’t in her imagination. She stared at him with wide eyes and Zaki’s gaze was still deep and unfathomable. However, this time, the way he looked at her was much more intense than ever. His eyes were like a clear blue lake, enchantingly calm and clear yet bottomless. She just couldn’t see what exactly those eyes were telling her.
Looking at him, Hinari’s heart began to race when the man didn’t reply. She could swear she heard those words but somehow, she just found it quite unbelievable.
What is this guy up to? Is he serious? Is he just testing me?
Unable to figure out what was going on, Hinari decided not to expect anything in the end. Well, she had always been a pessimist in the first place. Hinari was the type of person who always chose to expect nothing from someone else. This way, she wouldn’t be disappointed.
Since she was a little girl, her life had been filled with one betrayal after another. Even her very own flesh and blood had abandoned her, causing her to lose her trust in almost everyone. She learned that in order for someone like her to avoid getting hurt again, she would have to expect the worst from everyone, or expect nothing at all. Truth be told, when Hinari met her best friend, Davi, in high school, she already expected her to be just like everyone else. She expected her to pretend to be a friend at the beginning and then gradually become a backstabber or a stranger when she didn’t need Hinari anymore. She prepared herself, expecting the worse, so that when that worst case scenario happened, she wouldn’t be caught off guard and it would be easy to just say the words ’as expected, I was right all along’. However, when Hinari’s negative expectations didn’t happen, she was so happy like she had flown to the moon and back and was surprised to the core.
Hinari truly believed that too much optimism would only give nothing but heartache. She believed that too much expectation would only give you pain. She already learned her lesson so she wouldn’t purposely push herself to fall down the same pit again.
"Are you perhaps trying to test me, huh, Mr. Chen? Are you saying these words to provoke me or something since I’m not allowed to flirt as of now?" Hinari spoke again. Her voice was somehow, calm and void with anything mischievous.
However, the words she said caused Zaki to slightly crease his brows.
"You think I’m kidding?" He finally replied and Hinari immediately answered.
"Well, I just don’t want to get my hopes up."
"Because you’re afraid your expectation will be wrong?"
"Hmm... That’s correct so there’s no point denying it. I’d rather be a pessimist and expect a storm so I can prepare myself for it than being an optimist, expecting sunshine just to end up being caught off guard by the storm. Of course, the good thing is that if you expected a storm but the day is actually filled with sunshine instead, won’t you be surprised and overjoyed?"
Hinari’s words were somewhat heavy. Zaki could clearly notice the change in her tone. Hearing her, he finally began to understand why this girl is acting the way she is all this time.
"But thinking that way towards someone is the same as saying you never trust that person at all." He replied.
"Maybe you’re right. The way I think might even be logically called as being selfish or playing it safe, but, what’s wrong with playing it safe? What’s wrong with being careful? Must I be foolish forever and let myself get hurt again?"
"So you won’t believe me if I tell you I’m jealous?"
"W-well, you can’t blame me. How could a heartless fiancé like you be jealous because of a playful confession to... a... girl?!"
"H-heartless?" Zaki stammered. For some reason, he was shaken up the moment she called him heartless. Of course he was used to being called heartless and ruthless by his enemies since he was young, however, when the word came from Hinari’s mouth, he felt like he was being stabbed. His grip on her hand loosened like he suddenly weakened.
"Well, you don’t know? Listen to me Mr. Beautiful, we have been engaged for more than five years now, but you haven’t even taken me out for a date. You only come to give me a present during my birthdays and you leave straight away after five minutes of talking to my grandpa and not me. You only come and see me when your brother the great sends you to get me. You never accepted an invitation from me. We never had serious talks, and you never opened up to me. Of course, I will never forget that you always seem to appear and save me whenever I’m in grave danger and I know I can never repay you for it but..." Hinari, pulled her hands from Zaki’s loosened grip and like a fierce gangster, she grabbed Zaki’s collar. She made sure she wouldn’t touch his body as her eyes seemed to turned even fiercer, looking at him as if Zaki owed her a billion dollar.
"But my dear beauty, you were supposed to be my fiancé, not a superhero who would only appear when I’m in grave danger. Yes, I haven’t forgotten that we were never bound by this thing called love from the very beginning but why aren’t you saying anything? Are you planning to be like this for another five years? Do you perhaps think that we will stay like this forever?" She continued, her eyes narrowed as she question him. Well, Hinari actually expected Zaki to break the engagement one day. She even expected that their relationship will never work. For five years, she tried chasing him while making it looks like she’s doing it for fun, harassing him mischievously every time there was a chance, trying to get a reaction, but she, the so called queen of seduction who published best selling romantic books actually failed to even invite her man out for a date.
Thinking about their situation, Hinari has been thinking, why were they still engage until this time despite it all? How long will they stay like this?
For the first time, Hinari felt like her heart was getting heavier than ever. Certainly, she knew that she didn’t want them to stay like this forever.
After a moment of silence, Hinari continued speaking without letting go of Zaki’s collar.
"If that’s what you think, sorry dear, even if you’re the most beautiful man in my eyes, I think, what I need is definitely not a superhero." She said, her eyes glistened with something Zaki never seen before.
However, the next moment, Hinari shrugged and the look in her eyes went back to normal.
"So yeah, to me, you’re definitely my heartless superhero. Moreover, no matter how much I think about it, there’s no way that you of all people will really get jealous over me. Why? Well, why would it suddenly happen now when you didn’t care for all these years? To tell you the truth, Chen Zaki..." she paused and let go of his collar. She looked away from him and uttered three words...
"I hate you."