last edited on ZLT: 29.02.20
DOEN IS HOSTED AT ZHANLANN
in which an insomniac meets
an inert somnolent
From ASMR to water mattress, from sleeping masks to night lights, Raye had tried everything, or at least his sister, had tried everything on him to make him fall asleep.
Ever since fifteen, he’s been banking on an average of three hours of sleep (on a good day) per day. While Raye’s beside himself with nonchalance about his unhealthy sleep life, Jade’s pulling her hair out worried sick about her little brother’s illness.
Jade, being the wacky nut-job of a sister she was, happened to have many friends as crazy as her, and they have started up businesses verging on absurdities.
So when Jade came crashing home one day with a girl in tow, claiming she found the antidote to his ail and then promptly proceeding with pushing the girl into his room in the middle of the night…
will it be another sleepless night?
“Little bro, come out. Look what you beloved sister found you!” Doen watched Jaye pounding the door to her brother’s room with unprecedented gusto, slightly amazed at how (selectively) ignorant Jaye was to the fact that it was in the dead of the night.
At the lack of sound from within, Jaye continued persistently: “You will absolutely love me for this. More than you love your computer and xbox and psp and nintendo and your secret sta—ahhahgh!” Jaye fell forward when the door flew open without a warning, and she would have splatted right on the ground if it hadn’t been Doen pulling her in time.
“Goddamnit dude, some warning would have be nice.” Jaye grumbled as she steadied herself, her arms hitching themselves on her hips in an exaggeratedly angry posture.
“What.” Doe heard a tired voice, husky from lethargy. It was too dark for her to see him save for a silhouette, but the faint glow of the shine-in-the-dark star stickers from the ceiling had her catching his dark brows that were scrunched up in an impatient frown.
“What what. I finally found a way to solve your problem.” Jaye started excitedly.
Doen saw him running a hand through his hair, and it stood up in a messy bird’s nest.
“It’s one a.m..” Was it possible for voices to sound rustic? Doen mused to herself, trying to ignore the twisting nervousness bubbling in her stomach.
“It’s not like you’re asleep anyway. So, little bro, look who I found you—” Jaye turned to grab the unprepared Doen, who noticeably jumped at the sudden touch, by her shoulders. “—a sleeping partner!”
With that being said, Jaye shoved Doen in his direction, which so happened to be right up into his face, and proceeded to add a push on the girl’s shoulder blades as if her shove wasn’t hard enough. Jaye then settled back, laughing silently as her little brother visibly flinched at the new addition of a living human being falling right into him.
It wasn’t just Raye whose heart skipped a beat, Doen’s too quickened when she lost her balance.
It was a well-known fact to everyone around her Doen had hand-eye coordination so atrocious it extended beyond the spectrum conceivable by human imagination. She highly suspected her gym teacher closed both eyes when grading her during the graded badminton assessment, because how can someone who hit a shuttlecock and swing her racket along with it across the court still mange to get a D grade?
Her breath choking in her throat, her hands shot out instinctively to grip the doorframe. Owing to her marvellously long human reaction time, her grip missed, and to her spiraling despair, her magnificent descent continued.
Before she threw all her face away, a brassbound grip of scalding intensity locked itself on her arms halted her fall. If only it was a second earlier, then maybe she needn’t endure the pain of having her nose bridge knocking against his iron-cast chest.
“Jaye. ” She heard him biting out.
At his words, Doen suddenly realised she had her palms pressed flat against his hard hard chest.
Flushing, her hands dropped, as though scalded, her little heart hammering away like a newborn deer in her rib cage, and she pulled away from their close proximity. Or at least far away enough not be able to smell his fresh aftershave.
Swallowing at her ungraceful display of balance, Doen had her gaze pinned to her shoes, or at least where she believed her shoes were since it was too dark to even see her fingers, and promptly decided she regretted her decision of even picking up any damn client. She shouldn’t have listened to her wonky sister.
“I don’t need a sleeping partner.” His voice was soft, but the icy glaze seeped right through.
Burning hands tightened their grip on her bare arms jolted her from her momentary daze, and he shoved her right back to where she came from—outside his room.
Even though it was dark out, Doen felt his glare drilling into her. It was cold, diametrical to his previous scorching touch against her bare skin.
She should have worn a jacket.
A sharp exhale, one of chilly enough intensity exhibiting his curt discontent, he stalked back into the darkness of his room, and the door fell slap with a forceful slam behind him, so hard Doen flinched when she felt the woosh of the wind against her cheeks. That how close her face was from the door—a goddamn hair’s breath away.
Still slightly taken aback by the fact that she was almost slapped in the face by a door, Doen stood solid.
“Tsk, killjoy.” Jaye, whose presence Doen completely forgot, grumbled. “Doen don’t mind him, he’s on his men-struation. He’s not usually this riled up. Now that I think of it, I’ve never seen him so agitated before, hmmm…” Jaye drawled her ending note, her fingers tapping her chin meaningfully.
“Jaye, so is my… service,” Doen winced at her own terrible choice of word, “still needed… tonight?” Doen mentally face-palmed at how she cheap she sounded. Can she turn back time? She’s absolutely regretting this. Why oh why did she agree to join her sister’s ambiguous company?
Biting her lips, Doen made a mental note to throttle her sister when she gets back tomorrow. Chloe can go and eat her foot.
“Yes! Of course it’s needed, you’re not done yet. C’mere. You brought your pajamas right.” Without waiting for a reply, Jaye pulled her along down the hallway, switching on her phone light along the way. “Watch your feet, the hallway lights are broken so it’s gonna be a little dark for a while.”
“Where are we going?” Doen tripped after Jaye, her head completely messed up by the thousand and one turns and corners and doors Jaye had pulled her past.
“We’re going to get you a pillow. And blankets.”
“Pillows? And blankets?” Doen echoed after her slowly. After being almost slammed right in the face by her client’s door, Doen didn’t know how to feel about the whole idea of being a sleeping partner anymore.
“Yes, here we are. Hold on,” Jaye pushed the door open, emerging shortly after with a huge-ass pillow, a bolster and a heavy duvet trailing on the ground after her.
“Here, take it. Oh wait, soft toy, do you need a soft toy? What’s your style of work? Chloe told me to be nice and stuff, so do you need any uh more apparatus to accompany you to sleep?”
“Apparatus?” Doen parroted after her, unaware of the bolster sliding from her grip.
Jaye bent to push the bolster back into her tiny arms. “Yeah, you know like, scented candles maybe? Or dolls? Music is also okay, I can lend you my portable speaker.”
“Music? Portable speaker?’ Doen repeated after her, befuddled. Wasn’t her job description, at least according to Chloe, to just sleep?
“No? Okay. Great, now come with me.” Jaye spun her around, and they retraced their steps back to the hallway they came from. Of course, to the directionally-challenged Doen, it was as good as telling her they were walking through a maze.
“Oh, I almost forgot to tell you, my brother’s name is Raye. Think stingray, but with an additional e behind.”
“Raye.” Doen chewed on her lips. He sure has a sunny name. “Where are we going?” Jaye pulled her past another corner. For some reason, Doen found the door they breezed past familiar.
“Of course we’re going back!”
“Back?” Her heart dropped. “Back where?”
“To Raye’s. Aren’t you starting tonight?” Jaye jingled Doen’s wrist she had grasped in her chilly hand.
“To-tonight? I thought we’re just gonna, you know get to know each other first or som—”
“Honey, we don’t have time for that.” Jaye skidded to a stop, and Doen trailing after her bumped into her, the bundle of stuff she was carrying dropped all over the floor in a puddle of softness.
“Just think of him as a stingray if it helps.” Jaye helped her pick up the pillow. “A very grumpy stingray at that.” She pushed the fallen bolster into Doen’s arms.
“All you have to do—” Jaye picked up the thick duvet and coiled it around Doen’s tiny shoulders, wrapping her up in a bundle of sushi that further emphasised her tiny frame. “—is to make that stingray fall asleep. Simple right?”
Without waiting for a response from Doen, Jaye pushed the unlocked door—thank goodness everything, including door locks, in their house ran on electricity and the electricity’s out—before them. A soft push on the cocoon forward had Doen diving straight into the darkness.
Stumbling to stand up straight, she turned to see the silhouette of Jaye flitting her fingers at her, and her heart dropped.
“Sweet dreams Doen.” Jaye blew the girl a kiss, amused at the deer-under-the-headlights stricken face Doen gave and the door slammed close with a click.
It only dawned on Jaye after she returned to her own room that she’d forgotten to bring Doen to get her pajamas in the living room.
“Oh well, as long as she wearing something anything will do.”
DOEN IS HOSTED AT ZHANLANN
A/N: lol, even had a blurb for this, was planning to write it but the idea never did bounce