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Message Man

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Tyler wakes up to his phone buzzing underneath his pillow. It has to be still late at night, considering, that sun rises really early this time of the year and he sees nothing, but darkness. He doesn't move. It can't be his alarm. It is impossible. He doesn't even remember, what day it is, but there are still holidays, right?

The sound annoys him, so he grabs his phone only to be blinded by very bright screen. There's no use on switching to the night mode, he has to squint his eyes for at least 10 seconds to finally see something clearly, with tears falling.

Who surprised him again is Ashley. Probably one minute has passed already since he heard the sound, and it still hasn't stopped. How stubborn has she to be?

He looks at the top of the screen and doesn't believe, what he's seeing. It's almost 4 a.m. What happened, that Ashley is awake? It's him, who always stays late at night, and she falls asleep immediately and sleeps like she's hibernated.

The call finally stops and he feels a little bit guilty for not answering it, but he really needs sleep right now. It's one of very few nights, when he slept well and somebody decided to ruin it.

Anyways, he remembers, that he's not selfish, and so he takes his phone again and sends her a text;

Tyler: Leave me alone.

Well, apparently he is selfish. For a second he thought, that something might happen to her. She never calls late at night though. No, she's never even awake late at night. Maybe she had a nightmare, or isn't safe.

Just as he decided to abandon this thought, he hears another annoying buzz. He sighs in relief.

Assley: Listen, if you reject my call
ever again i don't want you in
my life anymore.

He's not surprised by what she sent. They sometimes hate each other more than love. He convinces himself, that it is exactly what friendship looks like.

Tyler: You don't need me in your life anymore.

Tyler: You're a big girl.

Assley: Yeah, unlike you. Just answer
the call, Jesus...

Tyler: Why are you involving Jesus in your late night whims?

Assley: It seems like He is the only
one clever here, and, in comparison
to you, will always listen to me.

Tyler: ...

Assley: Come back, I'm sorry.

*Incoming call: Assley*

He grumbles and finally hits an answer this time. He is almost hundred percent sure there's nothing wrong with her.

"What do you want?" His voice is deafened by a pillow he's facing. He isn't going to change his position.

"Can I come over?" she asks simply.

"What? Are you okay?" he questions curiously. "You are just calling me in the middle of the night and asking to come over."

"I'm sorry, if I woke you up."

"No, but I was serious. are you okay? Did something happen? You usually sleep at this time."

"Oh," she notices, "No, Tyler, nothing happened," she laughs. He realised, that she would laugh even though she wasn't okay, "I just mechanically set my phone on sound before I went to sleep and some notification woke me up. I checked it and then some loneliness hit me."

"And you want to come over? It's 4, Ashley, you can leave your loneliness when you go to sleep."

"No, I can't."

He has no strength for this girl. Why does her attitude need to affect not only on his sleeping schedule, but also on some other important things, like school?

He knows he can't just sneak out from the class, because she sometimes wants to buy some concert ticket, but he knows, how difficult it is to purchase a concert ticket at a time these days.

He also knows, that he can't just come back from school one day and show up to his parents out of nowhere with bright blue strand of hair, but these things make her happy, and who would he be to not let her be happy?

But for now, he wants to sleep, "I would love to welcome you here, but, I repeat, it's the middle of the night and everybody's sleeping. We would wake everybody u—"

"No problem, I will enter through the window."

And so he gave up. The story repeats itself. He never wins with Ashley. He always wishes he could be like her. She's so childish, but can also fight, has a big mouth, but everybody likes her. He's rather quiet and prudent. He wonders, how can she still be with him and not get bored.

Meanwhile he is waiting for Ashley, he checks on his Youtube account. He might not answer to any comment, but he reads them all. He scrolls through them below his latest video, from a week ago, when he made a cover of some indie song he heard last month.

"I love him even more, that he sang her song." You can't love me, you don't know me, he thinks.

"What kind of ukulele is he playing? It sounds really pretty." It's a tenor one, he wants to say, and feels a little bad, when he sees nobody has answered to their comment yet.

"Last time I was this early my mom told me not to believe people, who don't want to show their face on the internet." You should have definitely listened to her. I don't believe them either, he almost says.

He closes his video and starts scrolling through the timeline this time. He doesn't subscribe anybody, so many random videos keep appearing there constantly. He hates it, but that's the result of being a shady creep he is, or something like that.

He could watch one of them for distraction and to only keep his eyes wide open, but he wouldn't be himself, if he opened the app without checking on one channel in particular.

He haven't seen any recent video for over a week there, which is kind of weird, because they aren't the type of people, who hesitate ten times before posting something, for example like Tyler. He can record something today and post it a month later, or never.

It has been too many times he was afraid, that they can see his every move and how often he clicks at this one profile picture. He knows, that it's a dumb thought, and if he can't see who visits his own channel, they wouldn't know either, but sometimes he scares even himself.

Checking on this account became his daily (and nightly) routine.

To his surprise, he notices one video he hasn't seen yet, which was uploaded exactly 17 minutes ago. Wow, they uploaded a video at 4 a.m. "Another timezone," he realizes, before getting sadder at this thought, again.

The video is called "MY FAMILY HATES ME & IMPORTANT NEWS". Interesting. Very interesting.

He grabs his headphones and starts the video, which is almost 7 minutes long and remembers, that Ashley can be here in a moment. Fantastic.

He starts watching anyway, reading all the comments by the time. He can't watch anything without scrolling through them. He has to repeat the video afterwards.

He manages to read at most 3 of them, until he hears knocking at the glass. "Of course you have to interrupt everything." He gets out of the bed with a big effort.

"What did you say? Open the window, I'm freezing," Ashley whispers loudly, kneeling in front of his window, with winter coat and sweatpants on.

He quiets her, putting his finger onto his mouth and tries to open the window without any possible noise, "It was your idea, you deserve to freeze."

"When I was climbing the tree, I scratched my chin a little bit." She jumps off the windowsill. "I can't wait to stain your pillow with my blood," she smirks and he rolls his eyes, hurrying her, because she was right, it can be summer, but it's freezing at night.

"Sit, just don't break my bed." He slowly closes the window. They probably woke up the whole neighbourhood already.

"You have these cute lilac sheets again! I made a right decision to break into your house tonight." Tyler loves his lilac sheets too. They have a cloud theme above and some galaxy on the other side.

She takes off her jacket and, a second after, almost jumps into the bed, when he manages to stop her, "Wait! There's my phone somewhere here."

"Oh, sorry." She jerks the sheets. "I think I feel it," and she looks between her knees. "Here."

"Please, tell me you didn't break it."

"Me? Breaking something? Never. But let's check for sure." The screen lights up the whole room, and his opened Youtube app appears. "Seriously... You're watching him again?"

"Yeah, and what's your issue here?" he asks simply.

"Nothing, but it just seems like you don't take any rest from it. You are hypnotised."

"And you're overreacting. I didn't let you in to instruct me again." He climbs into his bed and cuddles his pillow.

They lay in silence for a couple of minutes. They can hear birds singing already. It's weird, how everything sounds different in the early morning. Everything is louder and clearer.

"I don't want to come back to school," she speaks up again."

"Me neither, please, don't remind me about it, because I'll cry." And he isn't lying as his words come out of his mouth in crying-like voice.

"This year will be hell, I know it," she whispers, staring at the ceiling, "But i miss teachers a little bit."

Tyler lets out a giggle. "What? Are you serious?"

"Yes, of course. They all love me, admit it."

"Obviously they love you, especially when you always decide to add your rude comment to their speech."

"See?" She turns to face him. "I'm at least one of these few students, who actually are interested in lesson."

"But it's still one free day left. We can worry about school later, maybe not at night, okay?"

"Sure." She turns around and cover her whole face with bed sheets, so he sees only a few strands of her blue hair. "Thank you for letting me in. Your bed is better than mine."

"What if I wouldn't let you in?"

"You would anyway," she says loudly, "but if you're asking me, I could just break your window or show your pictures on social media."

"Yes, I would let you in anyway."

"Go to sleep. We have a big day the day after tomorrow. Or tomorrow, because it's late after midnight already."

"Goodnight," he smiles and closes his eyes.

"Goodnight."

Ashley falls asleep immediately. Tyler isn't that lucky and he has to listen to birds singing even louder now, until he manages to doze off.