Love Disorder
Love Disorder
Author: Yuriko Hime
Chapter 1. Introduction

To my inner Uno and Blaze who never left me alone. 

Chapter 1. Introduction

I loved to play this made up game called What Could I Tell You. What could I tell you about your personality based on your clothes, your hair, and the way you talked? What could I tell you about someone I was close to? You get the gist. The game was simple. There was no reward for a correct answer. But it kept my mind occupied, plus it was fun if I happened to observe a person from afar and found out that I was right in guessing his personality.

So what could I tell you about my mom? Her name was Estella Chance. Single parent, in her early fifties. She never married but still had a daughter after adoption. I could tell you that she was a good soul from the way she'd love to donate to charities, to how she'd try to extend her sympathy to others. She kept her brown hair short. Said it was a bother to fix it every time. 

Mom used to bake me cookies. Not just any plain cookies, but the ones with M&M's and caramel, or whatever I wanted. Though work occupied most of her time, she has never forgotten to take care of me. Mom also bought my first sketchpad after she learned that I wanted to take fashion design in college. It wasn't even Christmas or my birthday that time. She gave it to express support. 

They'd wear your clothes someday Riri, she would say. I can't wait to see it. Mom was just like that. A good soul. A good mother. A person with goals. Except now all those descriptions were in the past tense. Today was mom's funeral. I was orphaned for the second time. 

My best friend Carter made his way to me. He was dressed in black like everyone in attendance. Despite having dark circles around his eyes, he still looked sharp in his suit. His curly hair was even slicked back. I should thank him one of these days for his efforts. "What can you tell me about me?" I asked when he was near enough to talk to. He knew about my game and would sometimes play it with me.

"I don't think now is the time for this. Everyone is leaving." The funeral just ended. After saying the prayers and covering the coffin with soil, people made a beeline for the exit. Of course they expressed their sympathy to me. Most of them cried. Like I said, my mom was a good woman. I stayed behind, looking at the spot where she was buried when they were all gone.

"What can you tell me about me?" I repeated.

He leaned down to wipe dust from his shoes. "You're Riri Chance, my best friend from high school. Seventeen years old, recent graduate, no boyfriend since birth. Your perfume has a hint of musk and lavender. Oh, and sometimes your big, bright almond eyes are scary, especially when you're looking in space like that." I threatened to slap his arm. 

"Okay, okay," he surrendered. "I can tell you that aside from being the most stubborn person I know, you're also unbelievably emotionally stable." I cocked an eyebrow at him. "You didn't cry," he said. "It's your mom's funeral. You're allowed to. Crying is not a weakness, especially if it's tearing you apart." 

I avoided his watchful eyes. "Go ahead without me. Tell your mom that I'll come home later. Make up an excuse. I'd like to be alone for a while."

"You sure?" He sounded worried.

I put my back to him. "Uh huh." 

"Don't take too long." I heard his retreating steps. I've been staying with them for a week since mom's passing. It wasn't a permanent set-up, but since I didn't have any other relatives to come home to, Carter's parents were more than happy to let me stay until an arrangement comes up. 

If this happened to other people, they'd be anxious about their futures by now. Dead parent. No other relatives. Nowhere to go to. It was enough to make anyone cry. Not me though. Okay, I wasn't a complete robot. My heart was breaking. My throat hurts. I haven't had much sleep in days. But I was way past that breaking down point. I was simply numb.

I was about to turn around when a woman who was dressed in all black quietly stood beside me. Where did she come from and why didn't I hear her, I thought as I stared. Regardless, the moment I saw her face, I knew who she was. "Uno?" I said. "I thought you wouldn't come."

Her fingers tightened around the stem of the white rose she was carrying. "I got delayed." 

I could tell you a lot of things about this person from a single glance. Her name was Uno. She was twenty one years old. With naturally pink lips, straight nose, and piercing blue eyes, she was the kind of person who would get a second, third, hundred stares as she passed. Her lean and tall form was impossible to miss. At the moment, her ash colored hair framed her pale face as she gazed at the spot where mom was buried.

"Sorry I couldn't come sooner." Her voice cracked. "But I want you to know that Manager Chance was a good woman." Manager Chance. That was what everyone called mom. Aside from raising me, she did a good job at being a manager. Uno was her talent, a Hollywood star. I was in the presence of one of the most bankable celebrities in our time, and I couldn't even enjoy it because of the circumstances. She offered a hand. "I believe we haven't been introduced personally yet."

"We haven't." Her palm was a stark contrast to my cold shaking hand. "I'm Riri Chance," I managed to say. "Mrs. Chance's daughter."

"Glad to finally meet you." We resumed staring at mom's grave. By now, twilight was upon us. What remained of the sunlight played with our hair, our faces, our skin. It was beautiful and sad, just like poetry. It smelled of dirt and sunshine. It was a series of contradictions. I didn't know what to feel. 

"Hey," she said after a while. "Would you like to go with me? Even though technically we both had the same mom." She made quotation marks in the air. "We haven't known each other until now. I think it would be good for us to talk." Mom never cared to introduce us before, saying she didn't like work and family life to mix. You'd meet Uno at the right time, she would reason.

"I don't want to interfere with your schedule," I said. She was an actress. She probably had meetings left and right.

"I'm on break." She took my hand and clasped it tightly. "Please don't say no." Uno flashed me one of her famous rarely-seen-except-on-movies killer smiles. Dimpled. Lopsided. And all that. It didn't quite reach her eyes though. I understood that part clearly. She was in mourning and wanted someone to talk to. Someone who knew what it felt. If there was that someone, it would be me. Both talent and daughter were orphaned by the same woman.

I breathed in before saying, "Okay, count me in." 

"Great, give me a second." Uno went to her knees and solemnly placed the white rose on the soil. She closed her eyes for a second. "Thank you for everything," she murmured before getting up. Uno has been under mom's care since she started in the show business. Mom has never complained once, and from what I understood, her wage was more than generous. 

"Where do you want to go?" I asked as we walked on the grass. 

"I missed lunch today. Is it okay if you eat with me? I know a good restaurant near here." She avoided a tombstone. "They serve good dishes." 

"Sure. Whatever you want."

I followed closely behind her. Though she was taller than me, Uno wasn't the type to walk quickly. Based on her manner of walking, one hand tucked in the pocket of her black slacks, I could tell you that she was an easygoing person. I was subconsciously playing the game again. It has become a habit. We stopped beside a heavily tinted, black Hummer truck. Uno opened the passenger door for me and helped me get up. For someone who was used to being fawned over, she was incredibly nice.

The trip to the restaurant didn't take long. In under fifteen minutes, we were there, riding the elevator of the building. "It's on the top floor," she said, pushing the button on the side. Though we rode her Hummer for minutes, we didn't have a chance to converse. She spent the time on the phone talking to someone, an acquaintance perhaps. Uno gestured on the hallway when the elevator doors opened. "After you."

A woman in a black knee length skirt and well-pressed white long sleeves greeted us on the lobby. She beamed when she saw Uno. "Good evening," she said politely. The woman gave me the same warm welcome before she motioned to the glass doors. "Please follow me to your table."

The place was surprisingly cozy inside. Nature was the theme of the design, with bamboo strategically placed in the corners. The sound of running water was also present in the room. It was like stepping into a garden instead of an expensive restaurant. We were guided to a table near the floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the city. Because it was already dark out, the lights of the nearby buildings shone brighter. "I'll return with your order," the woman said.

I watched her stroll away. "How did she know what we wanted?"

Uno took a napkin and placed it meticulously on her lap. I followed her example. It wasn't the first time I've eaten in this type of place. Mom treated me once in a while. But most of the time we preferred a good old home cooked meal. "They only have one specialty here," she answered. "Lobster. I called earlier to tell the owner that we're coming. Having the place to ourselves is more convenient."

"Do you always reserve the whole restaurant when you eat?" I was genuinely curious. Mom never talked to me about these things. Concentrate on your studies, she would say. The world of show business is a glamorous yet nasty place. 

"Not when it's a restaurant frequented by celebrities. The security would be tighter."

"Oh. . . Okay."

The woman from earlier returned with a cart. She wheeled it beside the table and placed a tray in front of us. A big, steaming lobster was under the lid. It smelled of butter, garlic, and spices. My mouth watered. I've missed lunch too. Now that we were away from the cemetery, my appetite was resurfacing. "Wine?" the woman asked. 

"Just water please," I said. Did I look that old? Carter told me that I was mature for my age. Most of the time anyway. After arranging the orders on the table, the woman left us alone. She didn't hover like what I was expecting. 

"Dig in," Uno instructed, indicating the lobster. "Don't hold yourself back when you're with me. I'm a completely normal person." 

I glanced at her reluctantly before getting my share of food. I've always known that mom worked with a celebrity. It was just surreal to be actually in the presence of one. I didn't know whether to treat Uno like my newest friend, or feel overwhelmed that I was eating with someone famous. I settled for in-between. Just like Carter said, emotionally stable was my thing. I caught Uno looking just when I was taking a big bite from the bread. "What?"

She smirked. "You always eat like that?"

I lowered my hand. "Like what?"

"Nothing." She had a small smile on her lips as she twirled her pasta with the fork. "You're cute." I brushed off her comment. She was making fun of me. "So," she said in the middle of the meal. "We've been sitting here for a total of ten minutes, yet all I've learned about you is you eat like a horse and that you're very pretty." Uno placed her fork down. "If you don't mind, tell me more about yourself."

Her question easily sounded like a job interview. At least that was what I thought. I've never worked outside the comfort of my bedroom during high school, though admittedly, I'd spend too much time in front of my sketchpad and computer. Mom had the expenses covered for both of us. "What do you want to know?"

Uno leaned closer, her eyes sparkling with interest. "Anything," she said. "Manager would always talk to me about you. It's like I've known you all my life."

I frowned. "That's weird. She rarely talks to me about you." Although I did know a lot about Uno. I've secretly checked her profile online every now and then. Let's just say that I was curious with who my mother worked with. Who could blame me?

"Manager had her reasons for that," she said. "But isn't it amazing? We've known each other for years yet didn't meet until now."

"Mmmmm." She was a stranger who was not really a stranger, which made it strange. 

"Anyway, are you done eating? I want to show you something," she said. 

I glanced at my half-eaten lobster. "Err. . . Okay." 

Uno stood from her seat and went to one corner of the restaurant, beside the glass window. She waved to me. "Come on. It's almost time."

I dragged myself from the table, away from all the heavenly food to get to her side. Uno had her hands pressed on the window. Excitement was oozing from her. "What are we watching, fireworks?"

"No, even better." She pointed to the building in front of ours. It was near enough to let me see the window there. "Look, it's around this time. Always at this time when I come here," she said. I squinted to see better. There was a large television in the other building. What were we watching? 

Before long, the monitor opened and two old women came into view. They were wearing neon green leggings and what looked to be a pink underwear outside. The underwear was worn after the leggings. The two elders started to dance in front of their television screen, making Uno roar with laughter. This was what she wanted to show me? 

"Oh man!" She giggled. "The best is yet to come." Looking back at the elders, I was shocked to see that they were attempting a split. Uno clutched her stomach. I couldn't help but crack a smile. It really was funny, especially when one woman had trouble recovering from the awkward position.

"Are you always watching them?" I asked, glancing back at Uno. Her laughter has died down, and her blue eyes were focused on me. My own smile disappeared. "Is there something on my face?"

She moved in front of me, pressing a hand on the window. My back hit the cold glass. It made me shiver. What was she doing? Uno leaned down to me. Her scent engulfed my senses. She was the rain- earthy, refreshing, sweet. It made my stomach stir in a strange way. "You know what? I feel like we'll stick around each other from now on, so I'll tell you a little secret," she said.

Her sudden seriousness was contagious. I swallowed hard. "W-which is?"

She moved her lips next to my ear. "I'm gay as fuck, and right now I want you."

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